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Summary

  1. GB's Simon Yates leads with one stage remaining
  2. Enric Mas wins stage 20, Yates third
  3. Yates needs only to finish Sunday's largely processional finale to win
  4. Sunday's final stage largely processional

Live Reporting

By Peter Scrivener

All times stated are UK

  1. This is the end

    And that is where I'm going to finish for today. The race report is taking shape and there will be reaction from Simon Yates in that.

    Thanks for your company today. It promises to be another special day in the history of British cycling on Sunday.

  2. Standings after stage 20

    1. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott)2. Enric Mas (Quick-Step Floors) +01mins 46secs3. Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) +02mins 04secs4. Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) +02mins 54secs5. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) +04mins 28secs

  3. Five on the trot for Britain

    I've been lucky enough to work on every one of those British Grand Tour victories and I don't mind admitting that this one is every bit as emotional.

    Who'd have thought when Sir Brad took the 2012 Tour that six years later we'd be watching a clean sweep of all three?

    And let's not forget British riders have now won the last five Grand Tours. That's right. Five. Count 'em...Froome took the 2017 Tour and Vuelta and followed that with the 2018 Giro. Thomas claimed the 2018 Tour and now Yates has done this.

    Brilliant. Just brilliant. Who will win Sports Personality of the Year now?!

  4. Yates joining elite company

    The official timing says Simon Yates finished 23 seconds behind the winner but it matters not one jot.

    He will go into Sunday's finale with a lead of something like one minute, 46 seconds. Like the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia, the last stage of the Vuelta a Espana is largely processional and the race leader is not challenged.

    However, he does have to cross the finish line to cross the t's and dot the i's.

    He joins Sir Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas as Britain's Grand Tour winners.

    Chapeau Simon. Chap.Eau!

  5. Simon Yates third to all-but seal Vuelta title

    And here comes Simon Yates. He rounds the final corner to huge cheers and he crosses the line about 20 seconds later.

    Barring a massive mishap tomorrow, he will win the 2018 Vuelta a Espana in Madrid.

  6. Enric Mas wins stage 20

    Enric Mas starts his sprint first, with about 150m to go. He takes the final right-hander just in front of Miguel Angel Lopez, effectively shutting the door on his rival and he crosses the line a bike length ahead of his rival.

    Mas will finish second overall, with Lopez third.

  7. Post update

    The crowds, which are a couple deep on either side of the road are enthusiastic in their encouragement for the stage leaders.

    Enric Mas and Miguel Angel Lopez are beginning a bit of cat and mouse. That will give Simon Yates a bit of a carrot to chase, should he wish. Into the final 200m...

  8. Final kilometre

    Enric Mas and Miguel Angel Lopez are getting ready to duke it out for the stage victory as they enter the final kilometre.

    Simon Yates continues his steady ride to victory. Will he give it one last big effort to try catch the two out front to celebrate in style? He's got a couple of dozen seconds to make up...

  9. Mas and Lopez climbing to podium spots

    2.5km remaining

    Simon Yates is getting plenty of encouragement from the fans dotted up this climb. He is 20 seconds behind Enric Mas Miguel Angel Lopez.

    Mas looks set to climb to second overall with Lopez taking third.

    But there is no doubt who is going to take the overall title. Yates still has around two minutes to play with.

  10. Valverde fading

    3.5km remaining

    Alejandro Valverde's race is done. The Spaniard is dropping backwards out of the group he was riding with. And that could mean the end of his podium ambitions.

    His Movistar team-mate Nairo Quintana recognises the trouble and drops back to help pace him back on.

    Simon Yates is also shipping seconds. He keeps climbing out of his saddle to dance on his pedals. It's a measured effort though. He knows he has plenty of time in hand.

  11. Yates riding on his own

    4km remaining

    A slight concern for Simon Yates. Adam has dropped out of the chasing group.

    And he is struggling to keep pace with Enric Mas and Miguel Angel Lopez. He has dropped a dozen or so seconds behind them and is on his own.

    However, the group containing Alejandro Valverde is 40 seconds back down the road.

    So long as he keeps within touch of Mas and Lopez - he has more than two minutes' advantage over them - the title is his.

    Just 4km remaining, but it's all uphill.

  12. Yates to create history?

    A little reminder of the history that Simon Yates is set to make...

    Only twice before has one country made a clean sweep of all three Grand Tours in the same season: in 1964, when Frenchmen Jacques Anquetil won the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia and his compatriot Raymond Poulidor the Vuelta, and then in 2008 when Alberto Contador took the Giro and Vuelta and Carlos Sastre the Tour.

    A victory for Yates would mean British riders hold all three titles - and for the first time they would all be different riders.

    Chris Froome, who won last year's Vuelta, claimed the Giro title back in May - with that sensational stage 19 attack - while his Team Sky team-mate Geraint Thomas was the surprise winner of the Tour.

  13. Yates 6km from Vuelta victory

    We are on to the final climb of this year's Vuelta a Espana.

    Simon Yates leads the quartet also containing Enric Mas, Nairo Quintana and MIguel Angel Lopez onto the lower slopes. It's actually a little over 7km, rather than the 3.5km listed in the race guide book.

    Quintana immediately drops back, presumably to help Movistar team-mate Alejandro Valverde.

    Simon Yates has Adam in the chasing group, which is great news. Should anything untoward happen, such as a puncture, or a crash that renders his bike unusable, he will be able to use his brother's.

    Perfect.

  14. Yates riding into history

    10km remaining

    But let's forget Enric Mas' pursuit of a podium place.

    Simon Yates is looking to cement his Vuelta victory with a stage win this Saturday afternoon.

    This has been a terrific ride by the 26-year-old who has seemingly timed his effort to perfection.

    He goes straight into the lead and casts a wary glance over his shoulder but Alejandro Valverde is nowhere to be seen - he's 17 seconds back up the mountain.

  15. Mas goes with Yates

    15km remaining

    Enric Mas is the only man who goes with Simon Yates. Spanish rider Mas is two minutes and 15 seconds behind Yates in the standings but only 17 seconds behind Steven Kruijswijk who is currently third overall.

    He's also only 37 seconds behind second-placed Alejandro Valverde so he's got plenty to ride for.

    Yates is happy to follow his wheel for a few corners but he then casts a glance across at Mas and zips past him. They are on the coat-tails of Nairo Quintana and Miguel Angel Lopez.

  16. Yates attacks

    17km remaining

    Simon needs to buy Adam a rather large smoothie at the end of this stage. The twin in yellow is still pulling the peloton along and in doing so, pulling his brother to Vuelta glory.

    Nairo Quintana and Miguel Angel Lopez are perhaps a dozen seconds clear.

    And here goes Simon Yates. The lad from Bury has said thanks to his bruv and set off in pursuit of the Colombians out front. Can anyone go with him?

    His nearest rival Alejandro Valverde cannot.

  17. Lopez and Quintana attack

    20km remaining

    Colombian duo Nairo Quintana and Miguel Angel Lopez have teamed up as they hit the bottom of the Coll de la Comella.

    Surely neither can make up the time they need to knock Simon Yates off the top spot at this late stage.

    Lopez kicks on again and Quintana struggles to respond. The 2016 champion lifts himself wearily out of his saddle and pushes hard on the pedals and eventually catches up.

    All the while though the Yates twins stay in the rear-view mirror...

  18. Two climbs between Yates and Vuelta glory

    25km remaining

    We are careering towards the Coll de la Comella - it's a mere bump in the road on a stage like this. The category three ascent is only 3.6km long with an average gradient of 6.3%, surely not tough enough to make a decisive break.

    After that, we just have the Coll de la Gallina, which is 3.5km in length but much steeper with an average gradient of 8.7% with the finish line at the summit.

    Nairo Quintana has been unable to make his break decisive. Adam Yates is leading the chase down the mountain, seven seconds adrift, with Simon in tow.

  19. Quintana attacks

    30km remaining

    As the leaders sit up and catch their breath, Nairo Quintana zips off down the mountain.

    A sneaky attack from the Colombian - a last throw of the dice perhaps? He's got four minutes and one second to make up and only 30km in which to do it.

    A tall order, particularly as he's only managed to open up a handful of seconds so far.

  20. Yates brothers in leading group

    Miguel Angel Lopez goes straight to the front of the race and immediately looks over his shoulder. He won't like what he sees.

    Looming large is the yellow jersey of Adam Yates and he has his brother Simon right in his slipstream.

    Great work from Adam who has ridden a steady tempo and all the favourites crest the summit of the Coll de Beixalis together.

    Bauke Mollema manages to nip across the line first to scoop all 10 King of the Mountains points.