Albasini sprints to fourth top-ten finish of 2014 Tour de France

Sun 20 Jul 2014

Three-time 2014 Tour of Romandie stage winner Michael Albasini has finished ninth in a bunch sprint on the 15th stage of the Tour de France. 

Wind and rain added an unfavourable dynamic to the 222km flat stage, the concern of many the safe completion of the stage as we head into the final rest day.

Again contesting against the pure sprinters, Albasini recorded his fourth top-ten finish for the 2014 Tour.

“Alba (Albasini) thought he could have a bit of a go in the final,” sport director Matt White said. 

“The guys helped him out a little bit to move him up and he did his own sprint.

“It is always going to be hard. He is not a pure sprinter so he has made a good effort to box on for a top ten finish.”

“We thought things would pan out a little different, that a couple of teams weren’t interested in having a bunch sprint in the wet and we would have a reduced sprint, but it wasn’t to be.”

Ahead of the second rest day, British neo-pro Simon Yates will depart from his first Tour de France following two hugely impressive days in the breakaway over the first two weeks of racing.

The 21-year-old will return home to rest and recover, destined for more great things to come.    

“It was a once in a lifetime opportunity with the start in Yorkshire,” Yates said. 

“Almost in my home training base basically and it’s something I will never forget for the rest of my life.

“Once we got over to France it’s been non-stop really and it really has been surreal, a really good experience and I hope to be back here in a year to come.”

Yates pinpointed yesterday’s breakaway effort as his highlight of the Tour. 

“Racing wise, yesterday in the breakaway, I felt really good,” he said.

“I got away in a big group, I think there were 17 away in the end, and just got caught in the final climb again. 

“But going back to the experience thing, it’s one of those things that you really take on board and it helps you for the future so I think it was just another great opportunity and I’m looking forward to being back.”   

White, thrilled with his debut on the biggest stage of world cycling, said there are many reasons to be excited about what is to come for the young rider.

“Ten out of ten,” White said when rating Yates’ performance.

“For a 21-year-old neo-pro, he contributed every day, everything he could do.

“Making one break in the Tour de France is an achievement but to make a couple and the way he has gone about the whole Tour de France experience is a great sign for the future.  

“Yes, it would be nice for him to finish the Tour, but it was a group decision that enough is enough and we have a lot of goals for him in the second half of the season.”