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La Vuelta Stage 14: Simon Yates takes stage and regains race lead (+ video)

Alejandro Valverde is second overall

Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) won the second of three successive summit finishes in the Vuelta a Espana. In so doing he regained the leader’s red jersey from Jesus Herrada (Cofidis) who was dropped long before the final climb and lost nine minutes.

The 171km mountain stage from Cistierna to Les Praeres featured a steep uncategorised climb early on and former race leader Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky) – now five minutes back in the general classification – made use of it to surge clear.

He was joined in the day’s break by five other riders, including Michael Woods, Nicolas Roche and Thomas de Gendt.

Their advantage topped out at about four minutes before a strong turn by Vincenzo Nibali, working for Bahrain-Merida team-mate Ion Izagirre, brought it down. Kwiatkowski was the last man caught near the foot of the 4km 12.5% final climb.

It was a nasty finish which would have been steep enough even if the road surface hadn’t been a combination of concrete and gravel.

Various overall contenders tried their luck on the slope, including Nairo Quintana and Steven Kruijswijk, but Yates’ attack inside the final kilometre proved the most meaningful.

“I chose my moment really well there in the final,” he said. “I didn’t look back until it flattened off a little bit. I had a bit of a gap so just gave it everything to the line.”

Yates finished two seconds ahead of Miguel Angel Lopez and Alejandro Valverde and leads the latter by 20s overall with the Spaniard’s Movistar team-mate Quintana five seconds further back in third.

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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