Giro d'Italia challenger Simon Yates rounded out his preparation for the Corsa Rosa with two stage wins in three days at the Vuelta Asturias, a pair of positive results in Spain coming either side of a hard day in the mountains on Saturday.
The Briton is set to lead BikeExchange-Jayco at the Giro, which starts on Friday in Hungary. He finished the race well out of GC contention after suffering in the heat on stage 2 but recorded solo wins on the hilly stages that bookended the three-day race.
On the opening stage of the Vuelta Asturias, Yates stole away on a hill 6km from the line to take the opening leader's jersey of the race and enjoyed a near-identical win to end the race on Sunday. He attacked on the final climb 5km from the finish before finishing 37 seconds ahead of a select chase group in Oviedo.
"It was a good race today in the end," Yates said after the stage. "I had a little bit of a bad day yesterday, just with the heat. It was the first really hot race that I had done all year but today I bounced back very well, the legs felt good, and the team rode really well again.
"They controlled all day, set me up well for the final attack on the last climb, so it all went to plan and now we are looking forward to the Giro, which starts already in five days."
Team directeur sportif Matt White added that the team had controlled the stage in preparation for the Giro, explaining how the squad approached the final of the day.
"Today was a short, intense and relatively flat day," he said. "We had a really crucial and very, very tough climb to the finish. As we have been for the last couple of days, we continued our process of preparing for the Giro, we controlled the day and brought the break back and the boys put Simon in a very good position at the bottom of the climb.
"Callum Scotson slipped away on the bottom slopes of the climb and Simon went across to him. He rode a tempo that nobody could follow, then he was in the safest place to be, ahead solo, on a very tricky descent where there was a crash in the main group behind."
Yates has raced the Giro on four occasions in the past, winning four stages and finishing third last year, while also holding the leader's pink jersey for the bulk of the 2018 before a late collapse.
This time he's among the top favourites once again, and will lead a team including Lawson Craddock, Lucas Hamilton, Michael Hepburn, Tanel Kangert, Damien Howson, Callum Scotson, and Matteo Sobrero in Italy.
"Simon was too strong, and it was a good comeback after yesterday," explained White. "We know the reason why Simon suffered yesterday. Traditionally he suffers with the first shock of high temperatures and humidity in the season, and we have now got that out of the way with two hot days here.
"We walk away with two wins from this race, the team is in a really good place, and we built some really good cohesiveness. Now it's legs up, recover, and then focus on getting across to Budapest to start the Giro d'Italia next week."
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Daniel Ostanek is production editor at Cyclingnews, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later being hired as staff writer. Before Cyclingnews, he was published in numerous publications around the cycling world, including Procycling, CyclingWeekly, CyclingTips, Cyclist, and Rouleur, among others. As well as reporting and writing news and features, Daniel runs the 'How to watch' content throughout the season.
Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France, and has interviewed a number of the sport's biggest stars, including Egan Bernal, Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Mark Cavendish, and Anna van der Breggen. Daniel rides a 2002 Landbouwkrediet Colnago C40 and his favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Vuelta a España.
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