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Simon Yates Keeps the Vuelta Lead as Viviani Beats Sagan

By Monica Buck

The Italian champion took advantage of an excellent lead-out by his teammates from Quick-Step who dropped him off in the last stretch in a perfect position to open up a sprint. With just 100 m to go, even Peter Sagan was unable to come round him. Meanwhile, in the GC, Simon Yates is going to enjoy another day in red because he managed to hold on to his one-second lead despite a puncture late in the stage.

“I think it’s one of the most perfect lead-outs we have done this year,” Viviani said. “It’s good enough to win two stages on the Vuelta after four stages on the Giro. This really amazing season continues. It will be difficult to beat this season, but I hope to be in the perfect moment of my career at the perfect team.” It is Viviani’s 17th win since his winter switch from Team Sky.

Nothing changed in the GC, except for George Bennet moving one second closer to Yates after picking up the last bonus in the sprint. Simon did, however, scare his fans with a puncture in the last 20 kilometres of the stage. Initially, he had to take a teammate’s bike, but then decided to switch to his spare and battled the winds until he got back into the bunch.

“I had a puncture, which wasn’t ideal,” Yates admitted. “It was OK though, I changed bikes with Albasini and then there were headwinds so I decided again to change my own bike. It could have been much worse if there was a bit more of a crosswind, but the wind was in the face so it was OK.“

On Wednesday, the race continues with a rolling stage to Luintra. The finish is the same as two years ago when Yates launched a late solo attack and won his first Grand Tour stage.

“The beginning part of the stage, as far as I’m concerned, was much harder the other year,” Yates noted. “This year, it’s still hard but it’s not the same. It was twisty and technical, it still is but not to the same extent. Of course, the finish is quite difficult. I expect a similar sort of scenario.”

Will he go on the attack again? We shall see in a couple of hours.