COLL DE LA GALLINA, Spain – Spanish cyclist Enric Mas (Quick-Step Floors) won the 20th stage of the Vuelta a España on Saturday, while Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) of the United Kingdom virtually wrapped up victory in the race.
Mas was the first to cross the finish line in the 97.3-kilometer (60-mile) stage from Escaldes-Engordany to Coll de la Gallina with a time of two hours, 59 minutes and 30 seconds to climb into the second spot in the general classification.
Colombia’s Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Astana) finished less than a second behind Mas, while Yates finished 23 seconds off the pace in third.
Spain’s Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) started the day in second place and still had hopes of overtaking Yates.
Instead, he finished in 10th and fell nearly three minutes further behind the UK rider.
Yates now leads new second-place rider Mas by 1:46 heading into Sunday’s ceremonial, 100.9-kilometer 21st and final stage between Alcorcon and Madrid.
Lopez Moreno is third in the general classification.
Afterward, Yates celebrated a third win in an incredible year for UK riders, with Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas having earlier won the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France, respectively.
“Yes, I’ve made it! It’s still sinking in. I’m incredibly proud. I’m also incredibly proud of the team. They’ve carried me for these entire three weeks,” Yates was quoted as saying on the Vuelta’s official Web site.