Equal record time in yellow highlights Mitchelton-SCOTT’s Tour de FranceSun 20 Sep 2020
Mitchelton-SCOTT wrapped up the Tour de France in Paris today having equalled the team’s longest time in the yellow jersey courtesy of Adam Yates.
The 28-year-old, who eventually finished ninth overall, moved into the Malliot Jaune on stage five and went on to wear it for four stages, equalling the team’s efforts back in 2013 when Simon Gerrans and current teammate Daryl Impey wore it for two days each.
Capping off an impressive debut, Slovenian Luka Mezgec continued to show his career-best form to finish 13th in the final sprint on the Champs Elysees today.
An aggressive start:
An unconventional start for the Tour de France saw mountains appear on the parcours almost immediately, and prompted a plan for an aggressive start.
On just the second day, in Nice, Yates saw his opportunity to jump off the front on the final climb, collect intermediate bonus seconds and finish third on the stage to sit second overall, four seconds down on Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck - Quickstep).
Expecting to wait until the summit finish on stage six for an attempt to take the jersey, the honour came 24-hours early when Alaphilippe took an illegal feed in the final 20km.
Attention switched to jersey defence for the next four days, before Yates relinquished it to Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma) ahead of the first rest day.
An accidental GC campaign:
After illness interrupted Yates’ preparation, the Briton and team management agreed to focus on stage victories at the 2020 Tour de France, anticipating significant loss of time to allow freedom for breakaway opportunities.
As one of cycling’s greatest privileges that isn’t handed over without a fight, the four-day stint in yellow delayed that plan. And, as the mountains continued to pass, Yates continued to find his legs, seemingly getting stronger as the days went by following his illness in July.
With a podium position still up for grabs until the final mountain stage, Yates and Mitchelton-SCOTT fell into the overall battle until the final moments, with another top-10 finish, the third in the organisation’s history, for the records.
Close, many times:
Despite falling short of stage glory, it wasn’t from a lack of effort from a squad that ultimately finished with two second-places, a third-place and eight other top-10 finishes between Mezgec and Yates.
A final bid for glory:
After the steady annual procession at start of the final stage, the real action began once the riders entered the Champs Élysées.
Despite multiple attacks off the front it came back for the expected bunch sprint, won by the green jersey of Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quickstep). Caught too far back, Mezgec settled for 13th in his first appearance on the Champs Elysees.
“It was a great experience. It was actually much harder than expected, much rougher surface, so I was quite in shock, for the first two laps I was like ‘woah, this is kind of hard.’
“It was a little bit weird because of there were no crowds, I saw lots of Slovenian flags, but still I cannot imagine how much better it can be when everything is full.
“The final sprint, I was just not in a good position. I actually didn’t feel so good and I spent too much trying to get in a good position in the final corner.
“We expected more, at least a stage win and we were a few times really close, but my for my personal success I’m really satisfied.”
Adam Yates – 9th overall:
“All-in-all I think we can be happy. As we said at the very beginning we never came here with ambitions of riding the general classification and in the end we came out with a top-10 in the biggest bike race in the world.
“The whole race we rode well as a team and stayed focused throughout and I think we can be proud of what we did here.”
Matt White – Head Sport Director:
“We came here with the idea of hunting stages and we went after it in the first week and that resulted in the yellow jersey. The negative side of that, for Adam at least, because he was the leader of the general classification and the yellow jersey, he couldn’t go on the attack for those stages.
“But we held the yellow jersey for four days, finished in the top 10 and we came mighty close with Mezza on a couple of occasions. The boys committed to the plan every day.
“The big positive in general, especially for Mezza in his first Tour, he’s a guy that has always been a support rider in this team over many, many years and he’s got his chance in the biggest race of the year and to show the talent that he’s got, finishing second twice, he’ll take a lot from the Tour, for sure.
“The boys did super, it wasn’t the successes of last year, but it wasn’t through lack of effort and we’re a team that people talked about during the race, besides the yellow jersey, the way we raced and our close calls, and the boys certainly did the team very proud.”
Tour de France – Stage 21 Results:
1. Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quickstep) 2:53:32
2. Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) ST
3. Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe) ST
13. Luka Mezgec (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST
Tour de France – FINAL General Classification:
1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 87:20:05
2. Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma) +0:59
3. Richie Porte (Trek Segafredo) +3:30
9. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +9:25