Vuelta 2018 Stage 15: Pinot wins at Lagos de Covadonga, Simon Yates cements lead

La Vuelta's 15th stage brings the last of three successive summit finishes. The route takes in three intermediate KOM climbs and five non-classified ascents before the final haul up to the Lagos de Covadonga. Thibaut Pinot solos to victory ahead of Miguel Ángel López and Simon Yates, who extends his lead. (Slideshow route/profile)

Results 15th stage 2018 Vuelta a España

1. Thibaut Pinot (fra)
2. Miguel Ángel López (col) + 0.28
3. Simon Yates (gbr) + 0.30
4. Alejandro Valverde (spa) + 0.32
5. Steven Kruijswijk (nld) s.t.
6. Enric Mas (spa) + 0.34
7. Nairo Quintana (col) s.t.
8. Rigoberto Uran (col) + 1.25
9. Emanuel Buchmann (ger) + 1.33
10. Ion Izagirre (spa) + 1.49

12. Tony Gallopin (fra) + 2.50
14. Wilco Kelderman (nld) + 4.01
23. Fabio Aru (ita) + 5.19

GC after the 15th stage
1. Simon Yates (gbr)
2. Alejandro Valverde (spa) + 0.26
3. Nairo Quintana (col) + 0.33
4. Miguel Ángel López (col) + 0.43
5. Steven Kruijswijk (nld) + 1.29
6. Enric Mas (spa) + 1.55
7. Thibaut Pinot (fra) + 2.10
8. Rigoberto Uran (col) + 2.27
9. Ion Izagirre (spa) + 3.03
10. Emanuel Buchmann (ger) + 3.15

11. Tony Gallopin (fra) + 4.19
12. Wilco Kelderman (nld) + 6.56

Race report
Michal Kwiatkowski and Lukas Pöstlberger get clear on the first climb, Alto de Santo Emiliano, before Rafal Majka bridges across. Pöstlberger can’t keep up with the pace, so that’s two Poles left at the front. But not for along, as Thomas De Gendt closes the gap and pockets most KOM points at the top.

The peloton regroups in the descent before seven riders open up a gap: Kwiatkowski, Henao, Mollema, Clarke, Bookwalter, Geniez and Castroviejo. Mitchelton-Scott brings them back.

The pace remains brutal and after some 35 kms a group of 11 riders distances the peloton. Bauke Mollema, Ben King, George Bennett, Danny Van Poppel, Tao Geoghegan Hart, Iván García Cortina, Imanol Erviti, Pierre Rolland, Fabio Felline, Valerio Conti and Nick Schultz are later accompanied by Nicolas Roche.

The twelve reach the crest of the Mirador del Fito for the first time almost 4 minutes ahead of the peloton. Mollema takes most KOM points ahead of King.

The Mirador del Fito is included twice and the front group travels 3 minutes ahead of the GC group over the top. Fabio Aru struggles and loses contact before the summit, but makes it back in the descent.

With 30 kms to go García Cortina and Mollema open up a gap and Bennett tracks them down before they are brought back by the decimated front group. Then García Cortina goes again and the Spaniard tackles the ascent to Los Lagos 1 minute ahead of the chasers. The GC group is trailing at 2.30 minute.

On the lower slopes Wilco Kelderman and Tony Gallopin are struggling, while the favourites gobble up the former leaders one by one. García Cortina is reeled in with 8 kms left to climb.

Miguel Ángel López ups the pace to distance his rivals. Emanuel Buchmann drops of the back before Nairo Quintana brings the other GC riders back to López’ wheel. Rigoberto Uran is in trouble.

Thibaut Pinot launches an attack 6 kms before the top. Simon Yates goes after him, but he can’t bridge across. An Enric Mas-attack doesn’t work out either. Meanwhile, Steven Kruijswijk and Alejandro Valverde crack, but they claw their way back.

López strikes 2 kms before the line. He pushes hard, but he only distances Yates et al without coming closer to the race leader. Instead, Pinot climbs to an impressive victory and he crosses the line 28 seconds ahead of López. Yates almost closes the gap to the Colombian in the dying metres and he finishes 30 seconds down on Pinot. Valverde finishes another 2 seconds further back with Kruijswijk, so the Briton extends his GC lead with 6 seconds (4 of which bonus).

La Vuelta continues Tuesday with an ITT.

Read also: route 15th stage 2018 Vuelta a España 2018.

Vuelta a España 2018 stage 15: Route map, height profile, and more

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Thibaut Pinot

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