A dominant performance by Mitchelton-SCOTT at the 95th Prueba Villafranca de Ordizia saw the Australian outfit take first and second in Spain with Rob Power securing his first professional victory and Simon Yates in second.
After controlling the race from the breakaway, with four riders within the group of twenty one and a clear plan, Mitchelton-SCOTT waited until the last lap to let their strength make the difference.
With less than 30kilometres left to race Power and Yates unleashed a tactical masterclass over the final two climbs before riding away together into the finish for the team’s third victory at the Basque Country one-day classic.
Quite a tense start saw the peloton altogether over the first hour of racing before a large 17rider group went clear with Mitchelton-SCOTT well represented with Yates in there alongside Alex Edmondson and Power.
It was a good situation for the Australian outfit and the group gained one minute past the 50kilometre mark. Around 30kilometres later and Matteo Trentin had bridged across to the Yates group with three others, making it a 21rider bunch with just over one minute on the peloton.
Mitchelton-SCOTT set the pace well in the front group with Edmondson and Trentin both working hard before dropping back on the approach to the final lap, leaving Power and Yates in amongst 14others.
The leading group continued to reduce on the final circuit and with less than 15kilometres remaining Power attacked out of the group with Yates bridging across moments later.
Holding around 30seconds on the chasers over the final kilometres the Mitchelton-SCOTT duo time-trialled their way to the finish, crossing the line together with Power taking the win and Yates in second.
“It’s been a long road, but it was pretty exciting getting my first win today and to achieve it in that way was pretty special. It was a true team effort and we rode aggressively all day in what was a hard race over circuits that were really tough.”
“Yatesy told me to go for it on the last climb if I was feeling good and when he made it over to me we went over the top together and that was a really special feeling. Taking that into the finish with Yatesy was great and I’m just happy that the team have got such faith in me.”
“I remember getting my first professional win and that was a very special moment and I remember winning here in 2016, so to be able to help Rob get his first win and be a part of that is amazing.”
Sport director Dave McPartland:
“The way that it happened was really special today. Both Rob and Simon attacking and then going all the way to the line together, it couldn’t have gone any better and it was a real organised team effort throughout the race.”
“We had a plan to try and get numbers in the breakaway and with the strong team we had here that could have been any of our guys and we would have been happy. When we got four in there it started to work well with Alex and then Matteo keeping things together and we controlled the race right up until the final lap.
“From there it was all about Rob and Simon. Simon attacked first, which reduced the group then Rob went on the final climb and Simon bridged across to him before they time-trialled all the way to the line and capped it with a great one-two.
“Rob is a great talent, we’ve known that for some time and it’s wonderful for him to get his first professional win. We’re really happy with the whole team, all the guys have come back from a bit of a break in good condition, super motivated and that showed that with the way they rode today.”
Prueba Villafranca de Ordizia results:
1. Rob Power (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 03:46:36
2. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST
3. Krists Neilands (Israel-Cycling-Academy) +0:37