Mitchelton-Scott's British rider, who led the Giro d'Italia in May, lies 1 second ahead of Movistar's Alejandro Valverde...

Simon Yates of Mitchelton-Scott leads the Vuelta going into tomorrow’s first rest day, with Ben King of Dimension Data winning today’s Stage 9 after attacking from the break to win on the summit of La Covatilla.

Yates, who spent a fortnight in the maglia rosa at the Giro d’Italia in May before being overhauled by eventual winner Chris Froome of Team Sky on Stage 19, finished eight today.

The Briton crossed the finish line 2 minutes and 49 seconds behind King, and a few seconds behind a group of rivals for the overall including Movistar’s Nairo Quintana.

With overnight leader Rudy Molard of Groupama-FDJ struggling on today’s 200.8-kilometre stage from Talavera de la Reina well ahead of the last climb, it was clear the French rider would slip out of the red jersey.

King himself spent part of the afternoon in the virtual race lead as Molard faltered, but expectations were that Quintana’s team mate, Alejandro Valverde would head the General Classification this evening.

However, the Spaniard – who yesterday took his second stage win of this year’s race – lost 15 seconds to Yates on the final climb, enough to put the Mitchelton-Scott rider 1 second ahead of him on the General Classification, with Quintana a further 13 seconds back in third place.

Besides King, a strong 11-man break included Thomas De Gendt of Lotto-Soudal, and mountains classification leader Miguel Angel Lopez of Astana, the two riders who had initiated the early escape.

King was the only rider able to follow an attack by De Gendt 30 kilometres out and managed to distance the Belgian then fended off a late charge by Trek-Segafredo’s Bauke Mollema who finished 48 seconds behind him, with Dylan Teuns of BMC Racing third, a further 1 minute 50 seconds back.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.