Adam Yates Climbs To Sixth Overall at Critérium du Dauphiné

Sun 15 Jun 2014

Adam Yates put in brilliant ride on the final day of racing at the Critérium du Dauphiné to finish third on stage eight and jump up to sixth on the general classification. The result comes less than two months after his overall victory at the Tour of Turkey and one month after he climbed to fifth overall at the Amgen Tour of California.

“It’s a huge result,” said Sport Director Matt White. “Adam is a big talent with a big future. He wins Tour of Turkey, rides to fifth at Tour of California and now sixth at the Dauphiné. Each of the results is bigger than the last. This is a neo-pro coming to the Dauphiné and going head to head against the overall contenders for the Tour de France two weeks out from the biggest race of the year. It’s really fantastic.”

Those that tuned into the live pictures were treated to a drama-filled day with fireworks all the way to the finish in Courchevel. Yates was part of a nearly thirty-strong front group that established on the first of four categorised climbs.  The group included Andrew Talanksy (Garmin-Sharp), Jurgen Van den Broeck (Lotto-Belisol) and Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) who had respectively started the day in third, fifth and seventh overall. Whilst neither Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) nor Chris Froome (Team Sky) were amongst the frontrunner, Team Sky had placed David Lopez, Mikel Nieve and Richie Porte in the group.

“We thought Team Sky would try something on the first climb,” said Sport Director Matt Wilson. “We were expecting a very hard start to the very short stage. Sky had nothing to lose, and we thought they would try to capitalize on Tinkoff-Saxo’s weakness – which was the lack of support for Contador. That’s exactly what they did.”

“They went ballistic up the first climb and split the field,” said Wilson. “The group of almost 30 guys went up the road after that. Adam rode well to get into the break.”

Although Yates was isolated from his teammates for nearly the entire race, the composition of the large breakaway was to his advantage. The riders that began the day higher-placed than him on the overall had more to gain, and they all had teammates they could use to further their objectives.

“Adam was in the box seat when he got into that move,” noted Wilson. “There were three guys above him on the overall, and they all had teammates to drive the break. Adam wasn’t expected to do anything. He didn’t need to do anything. There was no concern about him being by himself. It was actually the perfect scenario for us at that point in the stage.”

The race further imploded when Froome went on the attack on the second of four ascents. Jumping out of the peloton on the Col de Saisies, Froome had three teammates for company. Contador immediately marked the move. Eventually the chase group would grow to include 17 riders in pursuit of the 28 leading the race. Contador was without teammates in either of the two groups.

From there it was edge-of-your-seat excitement as the Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) turned himself inside out on the front of the leading group to put Talansky in a position to win the race as Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) attacked out of the chase group. With Contador’s lead under threat, the Spaniard went on the attack. Froome as unable to respond. When Contador hit the 20 kilometre mark, he was 2’20 behind the leading group and 25” ahead the chasers. 

“At that stage, Talansky was just racing Contador,” explained Wilson. “Talansky had to finish 39” ahead of Contador to win the Dauphiné. Adam didn’t have to do anything. He just needed to sit in and concentrate on the stage win.”

Yates wasn’t the only one eyeing a stage result. Nieve had a similar plan in mind. Four kilometres from the finish, Nieve attacked. He immediately got a gap.  Tejay van Gardern (BMC) marked the move.

“Nieve had been sitting in all day,” said Wilson. “When he jumped, he went clear right away. Adam couldn’t shut it down.”

Yates saved his legs for the final two kilometres. Accelerating away from Talansky and van den Broeck, Yates had Bardet on his wheel. The Briton overtook van Garderen before the line, but ran out of road to catch Nieve, who soloed to the stage win. Bardot sprinted in for second place three seconds behind Nieve. Yates was two seconds further back in third on the stage. Talansky did enough to win the overall ahead of Contador. Yates jumped up to sixth overall, 2'05 behind the race winner.

“Adam played things perfectly today,” said Wilson. “He really did an excellent job. We’re proud of what he did here this week.”