Pinot wins 15th and toughest stage of Vuelta while Yates remains leader

2018-09-10 03:19:52 GMT2018-09-10 11:19:52(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) won the 'Queen Stage' of the Vuelta de Espana (Tour of Spain) on Sunday on another day of drama in the three-week long race.

Stage 15 took the riders on a tour of the 'Picos de Europa' mountains in the region of Asturias (northern Spain) with 178.2 kilometers taking in two first category climbs and ending with a legendary climb up the Lagos de Covadonga, which contains sections of 20 percent gradients.

It was expected to be decisive in the outcome of this year's race but despite a desperate duel up the final climb between favorites - Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana). There were only minor differences to the overall standings.

While Pinot claimed an important victory with an attack on a final climb where the mist shrouding the mountain only added to the drama, Lopez was able to claim two seconds off Yates, who came in third with Valverde coming in fourth.

With time bonuses taken into account, Yates slightly extended his lead at the overall classification with Valverde 26 second behind in second and Quintana 33 seconds behind.

It was another brave ride from Yates, who was without the support of any teammates for much of the final climb, but with the next stage - Tuesday's 32 kilometer time trial, Valverde may believe he has a good chance of taking the lead from a rider who is better at climbing than he is against the clock.

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