Yates increases Spanish Vuelta lead ahead of final stages

SANT JULIA DE LORIA, Andorra (AP) — Simon Yates moved closer to winning the Spanish Vuelta for the first time after gaining more than a minute on Alejandro Valverde in Friday's 19th stage, which was won by Thibaut Pinot.

Pinot outlasted Yates at the end of the final climb in the tiny nation of Andorra, crossing the line five seconds ahead of the British rider for his second stage win in this year's Vuelta. Valverde finished eighth, more than a minute behind.

Yates will take a lead of 1 minute, 38 seconds over Valverde into Saturday's 97.3-kilometer (60.4-mile) 20th stage, a short but demanding ride over six categorized climbs. The three-week Grand Tour ends Sunday in Madrid.

Nairo Quintana had a punctured tire with less than 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) to go and dropped more than four minutes off the lead.

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