• Simon Yates wins in Barcelona on the final stage of the 2018 Volta a Catalunya (Getty)Source: Getty
Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) busted out a late move to win the final stage of the Volta a Catalunya and improve his standing from fifth to fourth overall. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) won the race overall for the second year in a row.
By
Cycling Central

Source:
Team Dimension Data, Movistar, Mitchelton-Scott
26 Mar 2018 - 8:08 AM  UPDATED 26 Mar 2018 - 11:00 AM

Mitchelton-Scott used their numbers all stage to set up the move for Yates with first Daryl Impey bridging across to a breakaway of eight riders on the closing circuits in Barcelona. When this group was all but reined in, Impey attacked taking three of the original breakaway with him. 

Yates himself bridged to Impey's lead group which grew to seven riders with four laps to go.  

With around 18 kilometres from the finish, a reduced peloton caught Yates and Impey then it was Carlos Verona's who led the race with two laps to go with teammate Yates, Marc Soler (Movistar) and Pierre Latour (AG2R). Back in the bunch Sky's Egan Bernal who started the stage just 16 seconds behind Valverde, crashed hard with less than 10 kilometres to go and was escorted from the race in an ambulance with a suspected shoulder injury. 

Yates bided his time on the final lap of the 155 kilometre undulating stage, timing his attack to finish 13 seconds ahead of Soler, Latour a further five seconds behind. 

“It was very difficult and very fast from the beginning," Yates said. "And the breakaway didn’t go until very late. I wasn’t sure if I could match the really fast guys here so I decided to try and go early and it paid off.”

“I came here with big ambitions and I wanted to try and finish on the podium but came a little bit short with fourth in the end. We kept trying everyday and laid it on the line even with the sprints for Impey and we can be proud of that.”

Valverde's victory was the third time in nine years he's won the race, equalling former Tour de France champion Miguel Indurain's record. 

“They always say that a race is not won until the final finish line is crossed," Valverde said. "And it was a really nervous, fast stage today, where we had no respite. The roads were always a little bit wet, with some light rain falling over the final circuit – that made for a very dangerous course, worse than usual. We saw two motorbikes from the organisers and TV crashing, and later on, my team-mate José Joaquín Rojas went down together with Bernal at a point where one of those motors might have left some oil from its crash.

“It’s really sad to see what happened to Egan. He was again really strong on the circuit today, jumping across to the breaks – I really had to dig deep to follow his wheel and neutralize the attempt. 

“It’s been a fantastic week for us, with Nairo’s second place, the fifth by Marc, the two stage wins… The team have worked their hearts out for the seven days, and we really deserve these results."

Australia's Ben O'Connor (Dimension Data) finished the race in 11th position overall, his best ever WorldTour result. 

"It is a great step forward for me, I didn't expect to be going so well here and it is a privilege to race up at the head of a race with guys like Valverde and Thibaut Pinot.

"I am honestly ecstatic with this result. We might not have got the best results continually from the tour, but this week was always about preparing for the Giro with Louis, and I am looking forward to playing my role in that race."