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Simon Yates GC hopes take blow following late-stage crash and time penalty at Volta a Catalunya

With challenging profile, BikeExchange-Jayco could go three in a row following back-to-back stage wins from Michael Matthews and Kaden Groves.

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Simon Yates admits his GC hopes at the Volta a Catalunya took a blow Tuesday with a late-stage crash.

Adding to the sting was a 20-second time penalty that the UCI commissaires slapped on the Team BikeExchange-Jayco rider for what the race jury said was following too close to team cars on the chase back to the GC group.

“I crashed but no damage,” Yates said at the start of stage 3. “There’s a bit of a time loss, so I think the GC is out of the picture.”

Also read: Quick guide to the Volta a Catalunya

Yates crashed with about 16km to go in the frenetic charge to the line, where teammate Kaden Groves kicked to victory. That made it two in a row for the Aussie outfit, but Yates was unable to regain contact with the lead group.

“I’ll go for a stage, that’s my only option now,” said Yates, who won a stage and finished second to Primož Roglič at Paris-Nice. “I still don’t feel 100 percent after catching the flu after Paris-Nice. Today and tomorrow are hard stages, and we’ll see what the other teams want to do.”

Yates said he’ll attack to try to win a stage as he continues his build toward the Giro d’Italia.

Kaden Groves kicks to first WorldTour win

Kaden Groves kicked to victory Tuesday. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Ahead of the drama for Yates, the team delivered Groves to his maiden WorldTour win.

The 23-year-old sprinter has been nipping at the edge of victory all season long, and Matthews, a winner in stage 1, delivered the perfect lead-out.

“It was pretty tough actually [the run to the finish line], with some echelons splitting the bunch, but Michael and I were in the front and a lot of other strong teams like Movistar and Jumbo. We had Simon out the back and they were using that to their advantage to maybe put some time into him, so it was pretty full gas,” Groves said.

“I liked this stage, I picked this stage out to get the victory and I can’t believe I’ve got it and maybe later in the week we can have another sprint.”

Also read: Kaden Groves kicks to stage 2 victory at Catalunya

Matthews said before the stage he would help Groves, and he set up the youngster for a clear shot to the line.

“We’ve been fighting for this for a long time, and to be a part of Kaden’s first WorldTour victory is something special,” Matthews said. “We were close on the last stage of Tirreno, but just fell short, and today we were able to pull it off. I think with me winning yesterday and being able to do a lead-out in the leader’s jersey and my teammate winning, what more can we ask for?”