Another podium as Yates climbs to third at Milano-Torino

Wed 9 Oct 2019

Tour of Croatia winner Adam Yates climbed to third place after an attacking finale at Milano-Torino as attention now turns to Il Lombardia on Saturday.

The 27-year-old was in the mix up both ascents of the decisive Superga climb but couldn’t go with the late attack from eventual winner Michael Woods (EF Education First).

The Road to Torino

A five-rider breakaway formed as the peloton rolled out of Milan for the 179km route to Torino, with drama striking early when a small crash took down several riders, including American Brent Bookwalter who was left needing stitches in his chin.

The escapees were allowed an advantage of around the five-minutes mark for most of the day, with the peloton content to let the break go on the largely flat run to the finale and the two ascents of the Superga climb.

Italian Edoardo Affini moved to the head of the bunch for Mitchelton-SCOTT with Yates on his wheel and the neo-pro significantly reduced the breakaway’s advantage as the climb approached. The gap was down to just over one-minute as the race hit the slopes and the break soon began to attack each other.

The Superga

The final man from the original escape was brought back as the summit approached, with Damien Howson joining Yates towards the head of the reducing peloton. Team INEOS were the ones controlling the pace on the descent and on the flat roads as the bunch looped back around to the climb.

Jakob Fuglsang (Astana Pro Team) was the first rider to make a move on the climb with Yates sticking to the Dane’s wheel before Woods launched a counter move. This time GP Bruno Beghelli podium finisher Jack Haig followed the attack, with a trio going clear before Woods attacked again and was joined by David Gaudu (Groupama - FDJ).

Yates then bridged across to his teammate and a small chase group formed with two kilometres to go. Haig dug deep to close the leading pair down before swinging off, leaving a select group of favourites at the head of the race. Several attacks came and went, but nodbody could follow Woods as he jumped clear with 400-metres to go, with Yates racing to third behind Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team).   

Adam Yates:
“This race suits me quite well and as a team we tried to keep it really simple and have a battle on the last climb.”

“At all sections of the race I had someone with me to help out and I saved as much as possible. Shultzy kept me out the wind all day and coming into the climb we had perfect position thanks to Eddie the first time and Damo the second time and from there on it’s just a matter of having the legs."

"I tried to ride smart on the last climb and having Haigy there to close the gap to the guys in front helped a ton, I just think the guys who placed ahead of me were better on the day; but having said that it’s good to be up there and show myself before the big one on Saturday."

"Unfortunately, we lost Brent quite early so hopefully he’s not too seriously hurt!"

Matt White (Sports Director):
"We’ve had a tricky day, Brent Bookwalter crashed and has probably ended his season, he was involved in an early crash and had go to hospital for stitches, so it didn’t start well. Then Jack had some back luck on the run into the first climb when he had a puncture 10km before the bottom, then a bike change at the bottom, so he’s done well to get around the first time."

"On the second time up the plan was for Adam to sit tight and if other guys were there they’d react to go with attacks. As it turned out it worked out quite well, Adam came across and we got Jack to bring back Gaudu and Woods on the flatter section before it kicked up before the line and I think Adam did a very calculate ride."

"If you look at the replay Adam was on Gaudu’s wheel and Gaudu blew and let Valverde’s wheel go with around 500 to go, so Adam had to go around him and Woods had already started to go. But in the end, there was no hiding on that climb, the strongest guy won."

Milano-Torino 2019 Results:
1. Michael Woods (EF Education First) 4:03:38
2. Alejandro Valverde (Team Movistar) ST
3. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:05

Photos courtesy of Getty Images.