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Adam Yates claims first WorldTour win at San Sebastian

Sat 1 Aug 2015

22-year-old Adam Yates has claimed his first UCI WorldTour victory at Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian today.

Just six days after completing his first Tour de France, the 2014 Tour of Turkey champion crossed the line in surprise as he confirmed he had in fact won the biggest race of his young career.

Attacking from the peloton on the final climb with just ten kilometres to go, the noise of the crowd prevented Yates from confirming his position on the road with ORICA-GreenEDGE staff as he approached the finish line.

“Incredible,” Yates said. “I won, but I didn’t know I had won.”

“I spoke on the radio to my sport director but because of the crowds the radio was too quiet.

“On the final climb there was a breakaway still up the road. Then there was a lot of carnage on the climb, there was a crash with a motorbike, and so I just went full gas.

“At the time I didn’t know if I had reached the lead or not.”

Yates returned to the Spanish one-day race 12-months after riding himself into a winning position over the final climb only to crash and suffer concussion on the final descent to the line.

The British rider also crashed at the Tour of the Basque Country not far from the area earlier in the season so was thrilled to redeem some unfinished business.

“For sure this is the biggest win of my career,” Yates said. “And it’s my first victory this year.”

“In 2014 I went to the Tour of Basque Country got sick and crashed, last year's San Sebastian I crashed and this year's Tour of Basque Country I crashed again. Normally when I come here I don’t do anything, just crash. It’s fantastic, hopefully I can come back next year and defend my title.”

Sport director Neil Stephens praised Yates’ professionalism to ensure a quick turnaround from the Tour de France.

“Coming into the last 20km we had five riders still in the race,” Stephens said. “Pieter Weening said he was OK but that he would do the work. He was able to get Adam to a really good position and from there Adam just showed he is in phenomenal form.”

“The TV coverage went down so no one could see but (Philippe) Gilbert and (Alexanjro) Valverde were talking to our staff members at the podium and they said it was unbelievable. When he went there was just no response and that was it.

“As soon as the Tour de France finished last week, Adam’s preparation for the San Sebastian started. He has been really focused in training and the way he has looked after himself and he deserves the win.”

How it unfolded:

A group of eight riders formed the initial move of the day but their advantage was kept in check by Team Movistar so never looked threatening for the win.

With 60km to go, the leaders hit the Alto de Jaizkibel climb for the second time with an advantage of just two minutes. Behind, the counter attacks began.

The initial counter involved four riders, before a further group of six also took off. The majority of the moves joined together in front to make a new lead group of 16 riders.

Team Katusha joined Movistar for the chase in the peloton and with around 30km to go the race was back together.

Another group of nine riders escaped prior to the final climb but shredded on the ascent whilst others were hindered by a motorbike accident. An attack from the peloton by Adam Yates saw the ORICA-GreenEDGE rider crest the peak with a narrow lead.

With the chase group playing cat and mouse behind, Yates held on for a 15second solo victory.

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