Ben King wins in La Covatilla, Simon Yates takes GC lead at Vuelta a España
Sep 02 2018 11:57 pm CET

Ben King wins in La Covatilla, Simon Yates takes GC lead at Vuelta a España
Ben King wins in La Covatilla, Simon Yates takes GC lead at Vuelta a España
Team Dimension Data

Ben King (Dimension Data) has taken his second victory in the 2018 Vuelta a España. The rider attacked with 18 kilometres to go and crossed the finish line on his own.

The first high mountain stage of the Spanish grand tour was 200.8 kilometres long between Talavera de la Reina and La Covatilla, with a profile that included climbs of the first, second and third category as well as a mountain finish at the hors-category Alto de la Covatilla.

Dylan Teuns (BMC Racing Team), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), Ben King (Dimension Data), Reto Hollenstein (Katusha-Alpecin), Thomas Leezer (LottoNL-Jumbo), Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), Jesus Ezquerra (Burgos-BH), Lluis Mas (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Luis Angel Mate, Kenneth Vanbilsen (Cofidis) and Aritz Bagües (Euskadi-Murias), formed the escape of the day and created a gap of more than 10 minutes with the peloton.

Mikael Cherel (AG2R La Mondiale), Loic Chetout (Cofidis) and Garikoitz Bravo (Euskadi-Murias) suffered a crash in the first 50 kilometres of the race but all of them got back on the bike. The bunch was pulled by teams like Sky, Bahrain-Merida, Movistar, Groupama-FDJ and Sunweb, trying to keep their leaders in a good position.

With 30 kilometres to go, De Gendt attacked from the front and was followed by King, Mas, Mollema, Hollenstein, Mate and Teuns. With 20 kilometres to go, Mas launched a new attack and took King with him.

At the cobbled climb of Candelario, King accelerated and left Mas behind, taking the lone lead of the stage. Astana was determined to stay in front at this same climb and they managed to do so at a good pace, leaving behind riders like Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) and Richie Porte (BMC).

With around eight kilometres to go, Mollema changed the pace in the chasers' group and left all the others struggling at the back. Behind, Rafal Majka (Bora-hansgrohe) took the lead of the pack and set a rhythm that left behind the GC leader Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ) as well as others like David de la Cruz (Sky) and Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin).

When Majka was done for the day, LottoNL-Jumbo's Sepp Kuss took the lead of the peloton and set a pace that proved to be too high for riders like Michal Kwiatkowski.

Mollema got very close to catching King, but the final metres of the steepest part of the last climb were too hard for the Dutchman. The American took his second victory in the current edition of the race.

Moments later, there were attacks by Wilco Kelderman, Miguel Angel Lopez and Nairo Quintana. They along with Rigoberto Uran and Ion Izagirre arrived together to the finish line and seconds ahead of Simon Yates.

Despite this lost seconds, Yates took the lead of the General Classification, being one second ahead of Alejandro Valverde.




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