Photo gallery: How Yates ended up in red after week 2 of the 2018 Vuelta

by Matt de Neef

May 21, 2018. It’s the second rest day of the Giro d’Italia. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) leads the race by more than two minutes having won three stages. He’s looking unbeatable in the hills and is the big favourite to be in pink come Milan.

Things go to plan for the next three days. Yates stays in pink through the stage 16 individual time trial, and all the way through the end of stage 18. But then, on stage 19, something goes horribly, inexplicably wrong. As Chris Froome (Sky) rides to one of the most amazing victories in recent memory, Yates implodes, dropping nearly 40 minutes. His dreams of winning the Giro are over.

Fast forward four-and-a-half months to the second rest day of the Vuelta a España. Again Yates leads with six stages remaining. Again it’s an individual time trial that will kick-start the final ‘week’ of racing. Again he’s the favourite to win the race overall.

Yates’ lead is slimmer this time around — just 26 seconds over the evergreen (and green-jersey-wearing) Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), with two others within 20 seconds. But this time Yates doesn’t have world-class time-trialists nipping at his heels, as he did with Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) and Froome at the Giro. Regardless, the big question of this year’s Vuelta lies before us, waiting to be answered: Can Yates hold on?

Can he make up for the frustrations of the Giro and become the first male rider from the GreenEdge setup to win a Grand Tour? Six stages separate him from Madrid, four of which are ripe for changes to the general classification.

As the riders enjoy their second and final rest day of this year’s Vuelta, we hope you enjoy the following photo gallery. It tells the story of the second ‘week’ of the 2018 Vuelta a España — stages 10 through 15. Click through to see our gallery from stages 1 to 9.

Editors' Picks