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Vuelta a Espana Yates breaks new ground at tournament

Orica-BikeExchange rider Simon Yates claimed his maiden Grand Tour stage win with a late break on Thursday.

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A late surge brought Simon Yates his first Grand Tour victory on stage six of the 2016 Vuelta a Espana in Luintra.

The Orica-BikeExchange rider made a break for the line with just over three kilometres to go and was able to stay clear of his rivals to take the win.

Yates, whose brother Adam finished fourth in the Tour de France, has endured a challenging 2016 - receiving a four-month ban in April for a "non-intentional anti-doping rule violation", blamed on an "administrative error" over the use of an asthma inhaler.

Yet after Omar Fraile and Mathias Frank had seen their challenges fade on the 163.2km route from Monforte de Lemos, Yates was able to break clear and claim a landmark win on Thursday.

The general classification contenders all stayed safe inside the peloton on a tough day in the Galician sunshine, BMC Racing's Darwin Atapuma retaining his overall lead from Alejandro Valverde, Chris Froome and Nairo Quintana.

A ferocious early pace saw the peloton sweep up potential breaks for the opening 50km, but a group of 11 - including Fraile and Frank (IAM Cycling) - were able to move clear.

The breakaway group pushed on for another 50km before Fraile opted to go alone, the Dimension Data rider opening up a one-minute lead as the rest of the break fractured up Alto Alenza - the only category climb.

Fraile duly took the only King of the Mountains points on offer on Thursday but his lead was slowly being cut by Frank, Andrey Zeits (Astana) and Jan Bakelants (AG2R La Mondiale).

It was Frank who took over as the front-runner, yet his challenge ended in disappointment as Yates followed Dani Moreno (Movistar) to catch him, and then pushed on.

And unlike the two men before him, Yates made his move stick to enjoy an unchallenged cruise to the line, sealing his place in the GC top 10.

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