Thibaut Pinot wins stage 19 of Vuelta a España

Simon Yates stretches his overall lead as he closes in on his first Grand Tour title

 Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) celebrates winning the 19th stage of La Vuelta   between Lleida and Andorra Naturlandia, in Lleida, northeastern Spain. Photograph: Manuel Bruque/EPA

Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) celebrates winning the 19th stage of La Vuelta between Lleida and Andorra Naturlandia, in Lleida, northeastern Spain. Photograph: Manuel Bruque/EPA

 

French rider Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) picked up his second stage win of the Vuelta a España on Friday, winning stage 19 in Andorra.

He and overall leader Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) dropped the other riders on the final climb, with Pinot hitting the line five seconds clear of the Briton. But Yates took time from of his main rivals and extended his advantage over closest competitor Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).

He is now one minute 38 seconds ahead of the Spaniard and, barring disaster on Saturday’s final mountain stage, looks set to claim his first Grand Tour title. However he remains cautious, mindful that he cracked in the final week of this year’s Giro d’Italia while in the race lead.

“There is only one more day to go,” he said. “We really need to focus on that now. We will enjoy this moment but it is not over for another day.

“I know too well that in one day, everything can change. So we will try to recover, to give it everything to try and win the race now. I will just try to stay focused. It is not over until it is over.”

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