Persistence pays off for Simon Yates at Volta a Catalunya

'I had great legs today' says Mitchelton-Scott stage winner

A gutsy series of late attacks by Simon Yates (Michelton-Scott) in the Volta a Catalunya was rewarded with a fine lone stage 7 win for the British climber.

Yates could not quite make the overall podium, however, finishing behind overall winner Alejandro Valverde and runner-up Nairo Quintana (both Movistar), while Pierre Latour (AG2R La Mondiale) was third overall. Yates finished in fourth with the same time as Latour.

Yates said he was still delighted to have got a stage win after tenacious racing by Michelton-Scott in the teeth of Movistar's domination of the entire Volta a Catalunya.

His first late-race move was when he bridged across to a break of nine on the hilly Montjuic circuit, shortly after teammate Daryl Impey had already made his own move across to the lead attack. When that nine-rider break was brought back, Yates dug deep and went again, managing to drop Marc Soler (Movistar), the rider who had beaten him to the overall victory in Paris-Nice with a long-distance attack on the last stage.

"I went on my own and got across to Daryl Impey, who did a great turn, but then the main guys were starting to attack and it all came back," said Yates, who won ahead of Soler by 13 seconds.

"So I went again and this time Carlos [Verona] did a great ride, pulling hard in the last two laps. Then I could finally drop Marc, which was very difficult, but I got him on the steepest part of the ascent.

"I wasn't confident of winning if I'd stayed with the bunch, a lot of the guys are really fast. But I came here looking for a podium finish, too, and I was only 24 seconds off that before the start of the stage, so there was that to go for as well. It made sense, too because I had great legs today."

Asked about his brother Adam's current condition after the Briton crashed and broke his pelvis on stage 3, Yates said there were considerably varying medical opinions on how long he might take to get back into some kind of training program, but that it would be at least ten days.

Early on the final stage, Esteban Chaves (Michelton-Scott) also crashed out, but Yates, when he spoke to the press, had no idea of the extent of Chaves' injuries.

With a second place in Paris-Nice and a stage win on the toughest mountain stage, a stage win as well as fourth overall in the Volta a Catalunya, Yates is on track for his best-ever season start.

"I think I'm getting more experienced, making less mistakes in training, eating the right food. All these small things make a difference in the end. It's a step up, maybe not in terms of pure numbers, but I have high expectations and I feel like I'm going well.

"I'm always a confident guy, not afraid to have a go, and the rest of the team were willing to lay it on the line as well."

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