Vuelta a Espana: Yates withdraws as Groves takes stage 11 win

·2-min read

Team-BikeExchange-Jayco leader Simon Yates was forced to withdraw from the Vuelta a Espana due to COVID-19, though team-mate Kaden Groves took the stage 11 win on Wednesday.

The 2018 Vuelta winner Yates was in fifth place after the first 10 stages of this year's race but has had to pull out, just as he did in the Giro d'Italia earlier this year due to a knee injury.

Ninth-placed Ineos Grenadiers rider Pavel Sivakov was also required to withdraw after returning a positive coronavirus test.

Groves put a positive spin on the day for Yates' team, though, securing the win in Cabo de Gata after seeing off competition in a bunch sprint, finishing ahead of Danny van Poppel of Bora-Hansgrohe and Tim Merlier of Alpecin-Deceuninck.

"It feels fantastic," Groves said. "This morning with the news of Simon going positive for COVID-19, all the boys were disappointed. It's the best way to bounce back after such bad news."

The 23-year-old became the first BikeExchange rider to win a La Vuelta stage since Yates in 2018.

Elsewhere, world road champion Julian Alaphilippe's competition is over after he was taken to hospital with a suspected broken collarbone following a crash.

It leaves Alaphilippe's defence of his title at next month's World Championships in Wollongong in doubt.

Evenepoel maintains gap at the top

Remco Evenepoel is the first under-23 rider to lead La Vuelta for six or more stages since Dietrich Thurau in 1976 (six).

The gap to the lead remained unchanged as none of the frontrunners in the general classification troubled the stage leaders on Wednesday.

STAGE RESULT

1. Kaden Groves (BikeExchange-Jayco) 5:03:14
2. Danny van Poppel (Bora-Hansgrohe) same time
3. Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Deceuninck) same time
4. Juan Sebastian Molano (UAE Team Emirates) same time
5. Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) same time

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) 39:39:04
2. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +2:41
3. Enric Mas (Movistar) +3:03

Points Classification

1. Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) 184
2. Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) 85
3. Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates) 81

King of the Mountains

1. Jay Vine (Alpecin-Deceuninck) 40
2. Robert Stannard (Alpecin-Deceuninck) 21
3. Jimmy Janssens (Alpecin-Deceuninck) 17