Simon Yates set to win first Grand Tour

Simon Yates crosses the finish line of the 20th stage of the 73rd edition of "La Vuelta". Pic: Ander Gillenea/AFP/Getty Images
Simon Yates crosses the finish line of the 20th stage of the 73rd edition of "La Vuelta". Pic: Ander Gillenea/AFP/Getty Images
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Simon Yates is set to complete a British grand slam of Grand Tours after extending his lead on the penultimate stage of La Vuelta in Andorra yesterday.

Yates will join Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas in conquering the sport’s biggest races in 2018 after he completes today’s largely processional final stage into Madrid.

The Bury star made his decisive move with 17km remaining in the stage, breaking the resolve of his nearest challenger Alejandro Valverde.

Yates eventually settled for third place in the stage, 23 seconds behind young Spaniard Enric Mas (Quick-Step Floors) who pipped Astana’s Miguel Angel Lopez in a sprint finish to move up to second place general classification, one minute and 46 seconds adrift.

It was a different story for Valverde, however, with the Spaniard clearly struggling up the final climb and ultimately dropping from second to fifth in the overall standings, four minutes and 28 seconds behind.

Valverde had failed to follow Yates when the Briton attacked with 17km remaining, taking Mas with him as they sought to reel in leading pair Lopez and Nairo Quintana.

Lopez and Mas ultimately went clear to contest the stage with Yates happy to sit in second, as Quintana dropped back in a futile attempt to drag his Movistar team-mate Valverde back into it.