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Simon Yates out of Volta a Catalunya due to illness

Vuelta a Andalucia - Ruta Del Sol 2022 - 68th Edition - 2nd stage Archidona - Alcala la Real 150,6 km - 17/02/2022 - Simon Yates (GBR - Team BikeExchange - Jayco) - photo Luis Angel Gomez/SprintCyclingAgency©2022
(Image credit: Luis Angel Gomez/SprintCyclingAgency)

Simon Yates (opens in new tab)has joined the growing list of riders abandoning the Volta a Catalunya due to illness, with his BikeExchange-Jayco (opens in new tab) team confirming the British rider would not start Thursday’s queen stage in the Pyrenees to Boí Taüll.

Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma) also abandoned the race on Wednesday, after Michał Kwiatkowski, Fausto Masnada, stage 1 winner Michael Matthews and Richie Porte, were all forced out as a non-COVID-19 virus and colds swept through the race.     

Yates impressed at Paris-Nice finishing second overall behind Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) but fell ill and lost all hope of victory during Wednesday’s stage to La Molina. Yates abruptly sat up seven kilometres from the summit finish and took no part in the race to the line. He finished more than 10 minutes down. 

“After feeling unwell on yesterday’s stage, Simon Yates will not start today’s stage 4 of the Volta a Catalunya,” BikeExchange-Jayco announced via social media before the start of the 166km stage. 

“Simon was not feeling well. He had a mild non-COVID-19 related illness after Paris-Nice and came here still recovering from it, and  he just didn't feel great on the bike,” a team source told Cyclingnews on Wednesday.  

Yates is expected to travel home to nearby Andorra to make a full recovery. The British rider’s second place overall and his final stage attack on the Col d’Eze had made the British rider one of the overall favourites at the Volta a Catalunya. BikeExchange-Jayco won the opening two stages with Matthews and Kaden Groves but now just have five riders left in the race.

Ben O’Connor (AG2R Citroën) powered to a solo victory on stage 3 to La Molina, taking the overall race lead in the process.

The Australian made his bid for victory inside the last eight kilometres on the decisive final ascent and narrowly held off the select chase group. Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates) crossed the line in second and Nairo Quintana (Arkea Samsic) in third.

O'Connor leads by 10 seconds ahead of Ayuso and 12 seconds ahead of Quintana, while Sergio Higuita (Bora-Hansgrohe) sits 16 seconds back in fourth. 

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Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.