Australia’s Kaden Groves produced a stunning sprint finish to claim victory on stage 11 of the Vuelta a Espana.
The 23-year-old BikeExchange-Jayco rider perfectly timed his burst after the 191.2km run to Cabo de Gata.
His British team-mate Simon Yates was one of five riders to withdraw after testing positive for Covid-19.
And World Road champion Julian Alaphilippe retired following a crash, as Quick-Step team-mate Remco Evenepoel retained the overall lead.
“It feels fantastic [to win]. This morning, with news of Simon Yates testing positive for Covid-19, all the boys were disappointed but this is the best way to bounce back,” said Groves, who is riding in his first Grand Tour.
“I wish he was still here with us, but I am super happy to get my first Grand Tour win.”
Groves beat the Netherlands’ Danny van Poppel into second place, with Belgium’s Tim Merlier third.
Britain’s Fred Wright, 23, riding for Bahrain Victorious, was eighth in the sprint finish, while compatriot Tao Geoghegan Hart, 27, of Ineos Grenadiers, moved up to eighth overall after earlier withdrawals, with no other significant changes to the overall classification.
Yates, 30, was fifth in the general classification before withdrawing on Wednesday morning.
BikeExchange-Jayco said the 2018 Vuelta winner suffered a “light fever and body aches” overnight and was withdrawn “with rider health and wellbeing our priority”.
Pavel Sivakov, of Ineos Grenadiers, who was running ninth overall, also withdrew, along with three riders from the Kern Pharma team – Spain’s Roger Adria, Hector Carretero and Pau Miquel Delgado. Britain’s Ethan Hayter was one of five riders to withdraw with Covid-19 on Tuesday.
France’s Alaphilippe, 30, who won the world title in 2020 and 2021, was taken to hospital for tests and his Quick-Step team later confirmed he had suffered a dislocated right shoulder, but X-rays showed there was no fracture.
“Julian will travel to Belgium on Thursday, where he will undergo an extra scan at the hospital in Herentals, in order to rule out any further damage. At this point, no timescale has been set for his recovery,” the team added.
Alaphilippe was due to defend his rainbow jersey at this year’s event in Wollongong, Australia, on 25 September.
The Frenchman flew over his own handlebars after crashing into one of his team-mates, who fell in front of him with less than 70 kilometres to go on the 191.2km run along the windy Andalusian coast to Cabo de Gata.
His retirement will be a blow to the chances of race leader Evenepoel, 22, from Belgium, who retained his two minutes and 41 seconds advantage over Slovenia’s Primoz Roglic after stage 11’s blanket finish.
Stage 11 result
1. Kaden Groves (Aus/BikeExchange-Jayco) 5hrs 03mins 14secs
2. Danny van Poppel (Ned/BORA-hansgrohe) same time
3. Tim Merlier (Bel/Alpecin-Deceuninck) same time
4. Sebastián Molano (Col/UAE Team Emirates) same time
5. Mads Pedersen (Den/Trek-Segafredo) same time
6. Daniel McLay (GB/Team Arkéa-Samsic) same time
7. John Degenkolb (Ger/Team DSM) same time
8. Fred Wright (GB/Bahrain Victorious) same time
9. Cédric Beullens (Bel/Lotto-Soudal) same time
10. Boy van Poppel (Ned/Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) same time
General classification after stage 11
1. Remco Evenepoel (Bel/Quick-Step-Alpha Vinyl) 39hrs 39mins 04secs
2. Primoz Roglic (Slo/Jumbo-Visma) +2mins 41secs
3. Enric Mas (Spa/Movistar) +3mins 03secs
4. Carlos Rodriguez (Spa/INEOS Grenadiers)+3mins 55secs
5. Juan Ayuso (Spa/UAE Team Emirates) +4mins 53secs
6. Joao Almeida (Por/UAE Team Emirates) +6mins 45secs
7. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col/Astana) +6mins 50secs
8. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GB/INEOS Grenadiers) +7mins 37secs
9. Ben O’Connor (Aus/AG2R-Citroën Team) +7mins 46secs
10. Thymen Arensman (Ned/Team DSM) +8mins 44secs
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