MADRID: Simon Yates impressively extended his lead on Alejandro Valverde in the battle for the Vuelta a Espana in stage 19 on Friday, and the stage was won by Thibaut Pinot, with two days to go.
French rider Pinot attacked Yates at the end of the 154 km single-stage climb from Lleida in Catalonia to Andorra's Naturlandia to triumph in three hours 42 minutes five seconds, but the Briton is now a small step away from general classification victory.
Yates, who can complete a hat-trick of British grand tour wins after Chris Froome's Giro d'Italia win and Geraint Thomas's Tour de France victory, stormed to the front with 10 km to go, increasing the gap on Movistar's struggling veteran Valverde.
The Mitchelton-Scott rider holds a one minute 38 seconds lead over Valverde ahead of Saturday's decisive stage in Andorra, which features 4000 metres of climbing.
(Reporting by Rik Sharma; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg)