Late crash shatters stage 16 hopes for Yates at Tour de France

Tue 24 Jul 2018

A late crash has shattered the hopes of a victory for Briton Adam Yates on stage 16 of the Tour de France today.

The Mitchelton-SCOTT attacked with three kilometres remaining on the final climb and led by 25seconds over the summit before sliding out on a damp corner with five kilometres remaining.

The 25-year-old was quickly back on his feet, only to have eventual stage winner Julian Alaphilippe (Quickstep Floors) pass him as he remounted. Battling on bravely, he claimed third from the chase just 15seconds adrift. 

Early protest:
In worrying scenes, the peloton came to a halt after less than 30km of racing due to a farmers’ protest.  Hay bales were placed on the road causing a narrowing, but it was a sprayed substance that caused more damage as it momentarily affected the eye sight of several riders. 

After a 15minute intermission to treat those affected, racing was underway again through a second neutral start.

Over 100km of fighting for the break:
With the climbing due at the end of the day’s proceedings, a big fight to make the break was expected and transpired. 

Once again South African champion Daryl Impey was in the thick of the action, first in a smaller group and then in a larger group of 28-riders that also featured Yates. 

After over 100km of racing a huge move of 44-riders finally formed the ‘break’, albeit more like a mini peloton.  Yates was once again present, this time with road captain Mathew Hayman for company.

Hitting the climbs:
The lead group worked together until the start of the tough finale, that featured three successive climbs, before they started attacking each other. 

Hayman lost touch on the first of the climbs, whilst the pace increased further on the penultimate climb and saw Yates crest the top in the front group of nine riders. 

The group grew to 17 in the valley as they approached the final climb and with over 12minutes on the peloton, it was clear the winner was coming from within.

Final climb: 
The lead group quickly dwindled on the final climb as fresh attacks began.  

Yates bridged across to the earlier moves and led with a group of six riders into the final four kilometres before attacking solo shortly after. 

Devastating descent:
With a 25second lead over the top, Yates began the 10km descent to the finish line. 

About halfway down, disaster struck as he slipped out on a corner, crashing heavily and allowing Alaphilippe, who was in hot pursuit, to pass.

Yates regathered and remounted quickly but the damage was done as he crossed the line in a small group of four riders for third position.

Initial assessment by the team doctor did not show any major injuries but the Criterium du Dauphine stage winner lost a lot of skin on his left side and will be assessed overnight. 

Adam Yates:
“It’s just one of those things. I’ve taken more risks on more technical descents before and never had any problems. 

“We can’t recon all of these stages and you don’t know what’s coming up on some of these corners, but it must have been a bit damp and I came down and that’s all there is to it. 

“My morale is pretty damaged right now. When you come so close to winning a stage of the Tour it’s devastating, not just for me but for the team. We’ve been working at these stages, trying to do something and when you come that close it’s disappointing.

“He (Alaphilippe) is pretty good, isn’t he? I have raced him since we were back in under-23 and I know how good he is. But I had a healthy lead and I am pretty confident on the descent myself but it’s one of those things, you miss one corner and go down. 

“It was the place I chose to (attack). You pick your moment and I picked that one. I could see everyone was hurting little bit.

“We have a short stage tomorrow and shorter stages are my favourite. Today was pretty long at 220km and tomorrow is 65km, so beautiful.”

Matt White:
“A lot of teams have the same tactics, we wanted one of our climbers in the break and we obviously wanted one of our big guys as well, and Matty Hayman did a good job to be there. 

“Nearly a third of the bunch was up the road today but we knew if Adam was there we’d have a really good chance because he is climbing so well. 

“We knew he had about 20seconds over the top, we were following Alaphilippe and he was taking some incredible risks, he is one of the best in the world on the descents.”

Tour de France – Stage 16 Results:
1. Julian Alaphilippe (Quickstep Floors) 5:13:22
2. Gorka Izaguirre (Bahrain-Merida) +0:15
3. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:15 

Tour de France – General Classification after Stage 16:
1. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) 68:12:01
2. Chris Froome (Team Sky) +1:39
3. Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) +1:50
19. Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +19:03

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.