Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) may be in the Vuelta a España race lead, but he promises more aggression as the race faces its final mountain stage in Andorra.
Yates gained over a minute on his closest rival Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) in a long-range attack on the Rabassa climb in Andorra on Friday.
He started the day 25 seconds ahead overall and he ended it with 1-38.
“When I try and defend the jersey, it never seems to go to plan,” Simon Yates said in a press truck parked by the podium where he received another red jersey.
“So I tried to be more aggressive, and that’s the way I like to race, so I’ll continue to do that.”
Valverde’s Movistar team-mate Nairo Quintana attacked first at 13 kilometres and Yates bridged to his trio at 10 kilometres with a lethal attack.
Valverde, the 38-year-old Spaniard and Yates’ closest rival, could not respond.
Yates, said he felt the “good moment” to get across to 2016 winner Quintana, Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) and Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo).
“There were a few guys ahead and it felt like a really good moment to across to those guys,” Yates added. “And that was it really, from there a bloc to the finish.”
Much attention is given to how Yates spends his energy in the Vuelta after he fell spectacularly out of the race lead at the Giro d’Italia in May.
He looked ready to win the Giro, but after 13 days in the pink jersey he faltered on stage 19 and an experienced Chris Froome took control to Rome.
“I know well how everything can change in one day. The race doesn’t finish until Madrid,” Yates said.
“I have to be careful. It’s going to be a very difficult day tomorrow in Andorra.”
Yates is from Bury but bases himself in Andorra, and knows the 20th stage well.
It covers six climbs with the Gallina summit finish, making it harder to control.
The stage climbs immediately and runs a relatively short 97.3 kilometres.