Adam Yates takes a chance in the breakaway as the Tour de France heads to the AlpsThu 25 Jul 2019
Briton Adam Yates headed into the breakaway on the first of three mountainous days in the Alps, as Mitchelton-SCOTT continue to focus on stage victories.
The team put three-riders, Daryl Impey, Chris Juul-Jensen and Adam Yates, in a large breakway that formed of the flatter start to the lengthy stage, before the climbs began and the group disintegrated.
Yates maintained his position, making it into a select group of 10 remaining riders on the final Hors Categorie climb, but after following many moves when the final accelerations came, it proved too much for the 26-year-old, who dropped off the pace as the fight for the stage win opened up ahead.
Nairo Quintana (Movistar) attacked with seven-kilometre of climbing to go and held on to take a solo stage win with the some reshuffling of the general classification behind as the race heads into the final three-stages.
A Furios Fast Start
The 18th stage began with a blistering pace as soon as the flag dropped with many riders continuously attacking to try and get into the day’s breakaway. Mitchelton-SCOTT stayed active with riders covering all moves, to make sure somebody made it into the break when the elastic finally snapped.
After multiple attempts, stage nine winner Impey and Adam Yates jumped away with two other riders but the peloton stayed close. Finally a large group bridged across with Juul-Jensen there and eventually the group was able to break free from the peloton’s grasps.
Three In A Large Breakaway
Mitchelton-SCOTT were one of the teams with numbers to their advantage in the break, having three team members represented in the large group that swelled to 34riders. Once the group established itself and settled down, the gap continued to increase and after more than 100kilometres of racing, as they climbed the Col d’Izoard, their advantage sat over eight-minutes ahead of the yellow jersey group.
Mid-climb Adam Yates accelerated and caused the breakaway to fragment with a select group of climbers riding away. The front of the race continued that way through the valley with riders attacking, causing the breakaway to split and re-group as they headed towards the final climb of the day.
The Col du Gabilier
The lengthy Hors Categorie climb, the Col du Gabilier, saw the front of the race reduce down to a select group of 10riders. Half-Way up the climb Alexy Lutsenko (Astana Pro Team) attacked which proved to be the final straw for Yates who dropped off the pace as five riders broke away ahead.
Shortly after Quintana attacked solo and held on to take the stage win, with the GC battle unfolding behind.
"It was all hands on deck to begin with, we had all the moves covered and we were always represented in the breaks. Eventually I was away with Impey and two other guys to start with and we basically did a TTT for a fair few kilometres. Once the group grew a bit, Chris was there to help extend the gap so the breakaway could fight it out for the win.
"On Col d’Izoard I felt pretty good and tried a couple of moves to try and slim down the group. I knew from recon if we came as a big group on the valley road before the last climb we’d be pretty open to attacks and have to chase but that kind of ended up happening anyway.
"Small groups were chipping away and they all had teammates behind so I spent a lot of energy chasing before we even reached the last climb and in the end I paid for it."
Matt White - Head Sport Director
“It was one of those days with a lot of flatter terrain to start the stage, it was always going to be hard to control for any team, so it was always going to be better to put riders in the breakaway and ideally a climber incase the breakaway stayed away to the line.
"The boys did a really good job, they didn’t miss a beat from kilometre zero and Adam Yates was our climbers. You’ve got to be in it to win in and we were in it but didn’t win it.
“There’s three more chances to win stages here and if we don’t try then we’ll never know, so we will just continue to keep doing what we have been doing since day one.”
Tour de France 2019 Stage 18 Results:
1. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) 5:34:15
2. Roman Bardet (AG2R Mondiale) +1:35
3. Alexy Lutsenko (Astana Pro Team) +2:28
31. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 13:11
General Classification After Stage 18:
1. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) 75:18:49
2. Egan Bernal (Team Ineos) +1:30
3. Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos) +1:35
27. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +49:35
Photo courtesy of Getty Images