Paris-Nice stage winner Simon Yates attacked to claim a solo victory today for ORICA-SCOTT at Gran Premio Miguel Indurain in Spain.
The 24-year-old launched away from a reduced front group at a perfect moment with 10kilometres to go and impressively worked to increase his advantage until the finish line, to take his second victory of the season.
“It was a hard race today, at the start with the wind and the rain but the team rode really well, protecting me at all times,” Yates said after his victory. “Roman Kreuziger went into the main break which was great for us, it meant we could sit in the wheels and save energy.”
“On the climbs the guys were always there and we made it a hard race so I am extremely happy to win today.
“Next I have Pais Vasco and I hope I can ride well there and maybe get another victory, I am looking forward to it.”
With ORICA-SCOTT well represented in every move of the day, sport director Dave McPartland was pleased with the team’s commitment and aggressive attitude towards making it a hard race.
“The whole team were impressive today, we really made it a hard race and made the race go our way,” said McPartland. “We had everyone in the breaks, even in the smaller early breaks and this helped put pressure on other teams.”
“In the final, the race was splitting after Roman’s group came back, so we knew we had to be aggressive on that final circuit.
“We were the most represented at the front in the final and Damien Howson did a really great job of keeping the small front group away.
“On the final climb Yates attacked for the second time, he clearly had the legs again and he really deserved this win.
“He picked the right moments to attack and was even putting time into the group when he went away solo, so it really shows he is in great shape.
“When you race aggressively, you actively make things happen and go your way. That was our attitude today and it paid off.”
How it happened:
Cold, rainy conditions awaited riders at the start in Estella today and the 186kilometre race kicked off with a fast pace with the peloton strung out in one line for the opening kilometres.
Michael Hepburn rode himself in the first breakaway of the day, alongside Aitor Gonzalez (Euskadi), Juan Perez (W52) and Peeter Pruus (Rietumu), and the quadruplet rode out to a maximum advantage of one-minute 15seconds.
Despite their efforts the peloton were not happy with the leaders and they were swallowed up by the peloton after the first hour of racing.
Shortly after, a new lead group formed, with Czech champion Kreuziger represented for ORICA-SCOTT.
Over the lumpy terrain, Kreuziger and two others, Matvey Mamykin (Katusha-Alpecin) and Nick Schultz (Caja-Rural) distanced themselves from the other breakaway riders and led the race as the others were swallowed by the peloton.
Movistar set a fast tempo over the undulating roads and quickly ate away at the trios advantage, eventually catching them with 50kilometres remaining.
Yates was next and tried an attack on the second ascent to Ibarra, taking with him one Movistar rider, however it wasn’t enough and they where quickly consumed by the now reduced bunch.
As more and more attacks came, finally a group of nine riders, with all the main teams represented, successfully jumped away with just 20kilometres remaining. It included Yates, Howson and Carlos Verona for ORICA-SCOTT.
Howson worked to make sure the group stayed away and once their lead was above 30seconds, with 10km to go, the determined British rider attacked once again and successfully rode away from the reduced front group.
In a repeat of his recent performance at Paris-Nice, Yates quickly opened up his advantage and held on to take another victory for ORICA-SCOTT.
Capping off a successful day for the entire team, Verona also crossed the line a respectable fourth place.
How the Australians fared:
1 Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott 4:34:01
2 Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale-Drapac 0:00:23
3 Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Team Sky
9 Damien Howson (Aus) Orica-Scott 0:02:56
16 Rob Power (Aus) Orica-Scott 0:04:03
34 Jack Haig (Aus) Orica-Scott 0:06:43
38 Brendan Canty (Aus) Cannondale-Drapac 0:06:49
46 Nicholas Schultz (Aus) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 0:12:56