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Kaden Groves wins stage 11 as Yates and Alaphilippe leave La Vuelta

Australia's Kaden Groves produced a stunning sprint finish to claim victory on stage 11 of the Vuelta a Espana while Alaphilippe crashed and Yates testing positive for COVID-19

Kaden Groves wins stage 11 as Yates and Alaphilippe leave La Vuelta

The 23-year-old BikeExchange-Jayco rider perfectly timed his burst after the 191.2km run to Cabo de Gata, team-mate Simon Yates was one of five riders to withdraw after testing positive for COVID-19.

World Road Champion Julian Alaphilippe abandond the race following a heavy crash, he was taken to hospital with heavy strapping on his shoulder. The Frenchman flew over his own handlebars after crashing into one of his Quick-Step team-mates, with 70 kilometres to go on the windy Andalusian coast to Cabo de Gata. He was due to defend his rainbow jersey in Wollongong, Australia, on September 25th.

His retirement is a blow race leader Remco Evenepoel, 22, from Belgium, who retained his two minutes and 41 seconds advantage over Slovenia's Primoz Roglic.

"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.

Team BikeExchange-Jayco said the 2018 Vuelta winner Simon Yates suffered a "light fever and body aches" overnight and was withdrawn "with rider health and wellbeing our priority".

Pavel Sivakov, of Ineos Grenadiers, ninth overall was also out of the running including three riders from the Kern Pharma team; Roger Adria, Hector Carretero and Pau Miquel Delgado dur to COVID-19.

Stage 12 to Peñas Blancas. Estepona is a completely flat day until the Peñas Blancas climb, a very tough finale that may make important changes to the general classification after 195 km.

VIDEO: Stage 11 highlights

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