How Did Simon Yates Win La Vuelta a España? | The Cycling Race News Show

How Did Simon Yates Win La Vuelta a España? | The Cycling Race News Show
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    Welcome back to the GCN Racing news show, this week, after a year of heartbreak is transformed
    into an almighty success, we ask, just how did Simon Yates win the Vuelta a Espana?
    We've also got the Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta, the Coppa Agostoni and Bernocchi,
    the Okola Slovenska, the Tour Cycliste Feminin International de l'Ardeche, a new hour record
    and an update from the Race to the Rock.
    On Sunday, Simon Yates finished off the perfect three weeks of racing and was crowned champion
    of the Vuelta a Espana.
    An important step for the 26 year old, who has, this year, lost Paris Nice on the last
    stage, by just four seconds, and then completely cracked on the penultimate mountain stage
    of the Giro d'Italia, a race he dominated from start, almost to finish.
    So how, exactly, did he do it?
    Well, firstly, by keeping a bloody lid on it - at least most of the time:
    That video coming after stage 4, when, contrary to team orders, Yates couldn't help but
    attack, taking close to half a minute on most of his rivals.
    Why was it against the plan?
    Because he and his team had learnt the lessons from the Giro, where he had attacked at every
    possible moment to take time, and bonus seconds.
    That was the strategy he had to adopt at the Giro, up against two strong time trialists,
    but without that type of rider at the Vuelta, he could afford to play the waiting game,
    not lose any time, but not go too deep in trying to gain it.
    Speaking of which, even in the second and third weeks, it looked as though he was consciously
    trying to avoid going too deep.
    On stage 13 to La Camperona, he lost a handful of seconds to Quintana, and then the same
    thing happened on stage 17, this time to Valverde.
    They were both very steep finishes, and you wonder, given how good he proved to be in
    the final few days, if that was a deliberate move - a calculated loss of time which meant
    he didn't go too deep, didn't dig too far into his reserves.
    Another masterstroke from Mitchelton Scott was to keep Adam Yates fresh until the final
    The Vuelta hadn't originally been on his race program, but with Simon in great form,
    he was persuaded to come.
    And we didn't see anything from him, until it mattered.
    Here are his list of stage placings for the first two weeks:
    And here are his results from the last week: It was another calculated risk, but with the
    likes of Jack Haig, Damien Howson and the rest of the team, they were able to guide
    Simon through the first two weeks, leaving Adam to come into his own on the most decisive
    Whilst he held back as much as he could, he also couldn't help but attack.
    Along with the aforementioned unplanned attack on stage 4, he also put in a devastating attack
    on stage 19 into Andorra, a show of dominance that pretty much spelt the end for Alejandro
    Valverde, his closest challenger.
    There, Pinot won the stage, but Yates won the race.
    Again, though, the following day, when Adam Yates was on his last legs, Simon bridged
    with Mas to a move by Lopez and Quintana, knowing full well that Mas and Lopez would
    be just as interested in riding hard as he would.
    Attack can sometimes be the best form of defence, but that move showed maturity beyond his years,
    and a clarity of mind - it was the move that effectively sealed the deal on his first Grand
    Tour win, and Mitchelton Scott have even coined a name for their tactics - conservative flair.
    Very posh.
    At the end of the day, though, you have to say that Simon Yates was the strongest rider
    in the race.
    Yes, his tactics and those of his teams were great, yes he played things to perfection,
    but he also had the legs.
    Contrary to Movistar, who's team leaders weren't able to finish off the work that
    was put in by their teammates, Simon Yates could - he was the strongest, the most consistent,
    he didn't have a bad day, and that's what you need to do to win a grand tour.
    And so, this week's Rider of the week has to be…………Simon Yates.
    The final podium was one of the youngest we've seen in decades, Yates, just 26 himself, Enric
    Mas, the revelation of the race, came 2nd at just 23, whilst Miguel Angel Lopez backed
    up his 3rd at the Giro with the same placing here, at just 24.
    Given the relative disappointment of Quintana and Valverde, it looks like a generational
    Well done too to Viviani, who took his 3rd stage win on the final day, to Valverde who
    won the points and who has now taken 100 individual top 10's on Vuelta stages, to De Gendt for
    lighting things up almost every day and taking the Mountains jersey in the process, and to
    Movistar, who will be disappointed with their GC results, but still took the team's classification
    by over three quarters of any hour.
    Talking of generational shifts, we saw the end of a glittering career at the Madrid Challenge
    by La Vuelta.
    Giorgia Bronzini gave a lesson to us all on how to go out in style by winning her final
    race as a professional rider.
    She formed part of a 16 woman group that stayed clear to the finish - she timed her sprint
    perfectly to come around Sarah Roy.
    Bronzini, who won back to back world championships in 2010 and 11, will now hang up her wheels
    to become sports director at the newly formed Trek Factory racing.
    The overall race was won by Ellen Van Dijk.
    Her team, Sunweb, had put in a dominant performance on the opening day's team time trial, and
    in being part of the lead group with Bronzini, she took the win by 11 seconds from her teammate
    Coryn Rivera.
    The Coppa Agostoni down in the Lombardy region kicked off a busy period of one day races
    down in Italy.
    The race was dominated by Gianni Moscon, in his first race back after being thrown off
    the Tour de France and his subsequent 5 week ban from competition.
    He easily outsprinted Rein Taaramae at the end of the 200km race.
    The following day at the Coppa Bernocchi, we had a bunch sprint - a sterling lead out
    from Bahrain Merida saw Colbrelli perfectly delivered to the 200m to go mark, and when
    he kicked, nobody could even get close.
    Manuele Belletti and Paolo Simion rounded out an all Italian podium - quite apt for
    the 100th edition of the race.
    Meanwhile, a number of riders were using the Okola Slovenska as their final prep for the
    upcoming world championships, and from that point of view, things are looking very good
    for man of the moment Julian Alaphilippe.
    He and his team, Quickstep floors, dominated the race, taking the prologue with Bob Jungels,
    stage won AND the overall GC with Alaphilippe, and the final stage in a sprint with Fabio
    For those of you keeping count, that means Quickstep floors have won 67 races this season,
    with 13 different riders.
    Many of the top female pros, have been honing their form for the world championships at
    the race with one of the longest names in pro cycling, the Tour Cycliste Feminin International
    de l'Ardeche.
    A double day on day one saw Alexis Ryan get the better of Arlenis Sierra, but the tables
    were turned that afternoon on stage 2.
    The big shake up on GC came on the mountain top finish up Mont Ventoux on stage 4, 2nd
    place for Margarita Garcia, behind her teammate Elder Merino, was enough for her to take the
    race lead over Katia Niewiadoma.
    However, Niewiadoma turned the tables herself the following day, taking the stage win and
    the race lead in the process.
    The race will conclude on Tuesday after another two hilly stages.
    We also, this week, saw a new hour record set in Aguascalientes in Mexico.
    Vittoria Bussi did it the hard way, too - she'd failed twice, but perseverance paid off as
    she bettered the mark of Evelyn Stevens by just 27 metres, riding 48.0007km's in the
    A woman of many talents, Bussi has also competed in cross country, triathlon, and holds a PHD
    in pure mathematics which she gained at Oxford University.
    And now, she's added a world record to her long list of achievements.
    Inspiring stuff.
    Sticking with inspiring feats, it's time to head down under for the Race to the Rock.
    On Saturday, Sarah Hammond reached the rock, and therefore the finish line, after a tough
    slog along Mulga Park Road against a fierce headwind.
    Such was her dominance that, as we record this, we are still waiting to see who will
    finish 2nd between Nick Skarajew, riding a single speed, and Erinn Klein.
    As much as the results, though, this race is about achievement and accomplishment, over
    some of the toughest terrain and in some of the toughest conditions to ride a bike - I
    tip my hat to every single one of the competitors - definitely not something I would have either
    the mental or physical capacity to do myself.
    Hammond averaged over 240km's a day over that terrain, in an event so tough that no
    man has ever managed to win it.
    Well done Sarah.
    OK that's all for this week - it's a slightly quieter one next week but the Italian season
    continues with the Giro delle Toscana, the Coppa Sabatini, Memorial Marco Pantani and
    Trofeo Matteotti, and you'll be able to see highlights of ALL those races over on
    our GCN Cycling Facebook page.
    Don't forget that if you can't get enough of racing, you can now purchase a subscription
    to Eurosport player over on, and if you do, you'll receive a £5 or €5
    voucher to spend on GCN Merch.
    There's a link to that on the screen now.
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