Hepburn and Yates strong on penultimate time trial stage of Tour de FranceSat 28 Jul 2018
Former Australian time trial champion Michael Hepburn and British climber Adam Yates have put in strong time trial performances for the penultimate stage of the Tour de France today.
The duo finished 10th and 11th respectively behind stage winner and world champion Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb). Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) secured the yellow jersey with just the ceremonial stage into Paris remaining tomorrow.
Hepburn in the hot seat:
Amongst the first round of riders down the ramp Hepburn set a strong early standard, stopping the clock at 42minutes 15seconds, more than two minutes faster than anyone had managed prior.
Teammate Luke Durbridge finished next and slot in one behind in second position and the wait began.
Movistar Team’s Marc Soler was the first to come close, finishing less than a second slower than Hepburn before the times started to tumble later in the day.
A run through for the future for Yates:
Out of the general classification competition for this year’s Tour de France but with a vision for the future, Yates went all in for today’s time trial.
Testing his work on the discipline and how the body would handle the effort after 19 days of hard racing, Yates posted a provisional fastest time at the first intermediate split before crossing the line in fifth position with the GC contenders still to come.
At the conclusion of the day, the 25-year-old finished 11th position in a show of improvement and positive sign for the future.
Yellow jersey decided:
Third on today’s stage, Thomas defended his overall lead at the final hurdle and will roll into Paris wearing the yellow jersey tomorrow.
Dumoulin showed his supreme time trial ability to claim the stage and cement second overall, whilst a strong day for Chris Froome (Team Sky) and poor day from Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) saw Froome jump back onto the podium.
Michael Hepburn – 10th position:
"It’s a really hard course. I hadn’t seen it. I decided to sleep in this morning instead of coming ride the course. It’s up and down, windy, you get a 30second rest in a descent and it’s up again for one minute. It’s really challenging.
“To be honest I’m probably glad I didn’t see the course, so I didn’t know how difficult it was. I started quick and you have to to be competitive in time trials, and the second half is just about holding on. There was a few moments I thought I was blowing up.
“It’s been a difficult first Tour de France for me. We’re pretty stupid, only a few days after a Grand Tour we forget the pain and how hard they are. You only get a remainder once you’re back in pain in the next Grand Tour.
“I really struggled in the Alps. I had a very bad day the day after the first rest day. I was just conserving energy to finish in the grupetto within the time cut but the last week in the Pyrenees I felt pretty good. I had today in the back of my mind. Good days in the Pyrenees kept me going."
Tour de France – Stage 20 Results:
1. Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) 40:52
2. Chris Froome (Team Sky) +0:01
3. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) +0:14
10. Michael Hepburn (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +1:23
Tour de France - General Classification after Stage 20:
1. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) 80:30:37
2. Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) +1:51
3. Chris Froome (Team Sky) +2:24
23. Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +49:19
Photo courtesy of Getty Images.