Second placed Egan Bernal crashes out of the race after a Movistar rider goes down in front of him on a descent
Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) won a breathless final stage of the Volta a Catalunya, attacking on a climb around 4km from the finish to escape clear from a four-man breakaway group to solo to victory.
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) stood firm on a day with lots of attacks to seal overall victory.
Egan Bernal (Sky), who had been second place on GC, saw his race come to an end in brutal circumstances, as he crashed out on a bend just before the final lap of the Barcelona-set circuit.
His abandonment meant that Nairo Quintana moved up to second overall, completing a Movistar one-two at the top of the classification.
Yates’ victory was very nearly enough to earn him the third spot on the podium, but the bonus seconds gained by Pierre Latour (Ag2r) in the sprint for third place was enough to seal him third overall.
How it happened
Conditions in Barcelona were not as cold as during yesterday’s shortened stage, but remained grey and drizzly.
Unusually, despite many attempts no breakaway group managed to successfully form at the start of the stage. Therefore Valverde was able to extend his lead fractionally by claiming one and two points over the first two intermediate sprints respectively.
Eventually, an eight-man breakaway was established. It consisted of: Jhonatan Narvarez (Quick-Step Floors), Johannes Frohlinger (Sunweb), Pierre Rolland (EF Education First), Willie Smit (Katusha-Alpecin), Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Merida), Bram Tankink (LottoNL-Jumbo), Nick Schultz (Caja Rural) and Pablo Torres (Burgos BH).
That group soon expanded to nine when Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott) bridged the gap over to them.
This group survived for the first three of eight laps of the circuit, until a flurry of activity in the peloton saw their gap eradicated.
On the third ascent of the Montjuic hill – the circuit’s sole climb – Impey, Rolland, Schultz and Narvarez pushed on ahead of the rest of the break. A chase group – featuring, among others, Simon Yates and Marc Soler (Movistar), who would eventually finish first and second – bore down on them.
After some other reshuffles, during which time a new four-man lead group of Mohoric, Soler, Carlos Verona (Mitchelton-Scott), and Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors) was established at the front, an attack from Valverde, swiftly responded to by Bernal, saw a now severely reduced peloton swallow up all the attackers.
Another flurry of activity ensued, including a brief attack from Bernal, until a new lead group emerged with around 15km. It consisted of Soler, Verona, his Mitchelton-Scott leader Yates and, yet again, Mohoric. Thanks to the work of Verona it managed to build a decent lead, heading into the penultimate lap with a lead of a few seconds, which by the bell signifying the final lap had grown to fifteen seconds.
It was just before the bell that Bernal crashed out, falling head-over-handlebars when Jose Joaquin Rojas crashed ahead of him. The Colombian remained still on the roads for several minutes, before being taken away by an ambulance.
On the final ascent of the Montjuic, Yates and Soler broke clear of Mohoric and Verona. Towards the peak, an acceleration from Yates then saw Soler lose his wheel.
With Bernal out of the race, Movistar had little to worry about in terms of GC threats. A brief attack from Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) caused little concern given how he was no longer a serious GC threat, and a steady pace was set by Quintana to make sure things were controlled enough for Valverde to seal overall victory.
Now alone up front, Yates held a lead of around 20 seconds heading into the last few kilometres. The Briton comfortably held that, with Soler finishing behind him as runner-up 13 seconds behind, and Latour winning the sprint for third from a 14-man group, featuring the now-confirmed race winner Valverde.
Volta a Catalunya 2018 stage seven: Barcelona -Barcelona (154.8km)
1 Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott, in 3-28-04
2 Marc Soler (Esp) Movistar, at 13s
3 Pierre Latour (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale, at 18s
4 Jarlinson Pantano (Col) Trek-Segafredo
5 Jay McCarthy (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe
6 Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain-Merida
7 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
8 Warren Barguil (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic
9 Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar
10 George Bennett (NZl) LottoNL-Jumbo, all same time
Final general classification
1 Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar, in 28-25-07
2 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar, at 29s
3 Pierre Latour (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale, at 47s
4 Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott, st
5 Marc Soler (Esp) Movistar, at 1-10
6 George Bennett (NZl) LottoNL-Jumbo, 1-23
7 Daniel Martinez (Col) EF Education First-Drapac, at 1-29
8 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo, at 1-31
9 Jesper Hansen (Den) Astana, st
10 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, at 1-34