Mature ride from white jersey Adam Yates on stage nine of the Tour de France.Sun 10 Jul 2016
Tour de France white jersey Adam Yates produced an intelligent and mature performance for ORICA-BikeExchange on stage nine of the Tour de France today. Brilliantly following the attacks on the final climb before accelerating to lead the overall favourites over the line.
The tough and unforgiving ninth stage included five categorised climbs on the third consecutive day in the Pyrenees but that did not faze 23-year-old Yates. A measured performance saw the Briton retain the white jersey and second on the general classification.
Yates rode intelligently throughout, well protected by his ORICA-BikeExchange teammates until halfway up the final climb when the group of overall favourites began to seriously increase the pace.
“It was a difficult start to the stage with the attacks of Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) on the first climb,” said Yates. “Then on the last climb it started to rain and cooled down quite a bit.”
“For me when it cools down like that I feel a lot more open and it enabled me to go a little bit deeper, so it was good timing really.
“We all have the rest day tomorrow and some time to recover so we will see how everyone comes out of that and continue to take the race day by day.”
Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) took the stage victory with a winning move from the breakaway whilst Yates crossed the line in 10th after an audacious push to the line. Christopher Froome (Team-Sky) retains the race lead and the yellow jersey ahead of tomorrow’s rest day.
Sport director Matt White was pleased with how the stage went for ORICA-BikeExchange.
“It was another very pleasing ride by Adam (Yates) and the team today,” said White. "Especially when you consider the last forty-eight hours that Adam has had.”
“The guys did a great job again today, looking after Adam and maintaining our position going into the finale.
“Ruben Plaza and Daryl Impey both played important roles on the stage and stayed with Adam for as long as possible after Daryl had tried to get into the earlier breakaway moves.”
“We are happy with our position going into tomorrow’s rest day and look forward to stage ten on Tuesday.”
How it happened:
A blisteringly hot day welcomed the riders to the start of stage nine as the race crossed over the border into Spain for 184kilometres in the mountains around Andorra.
The climbing started immediately and so sprang forth the first attacks. Twenty-five riders went clear on the first ascent before the group thinned out to around 20 members.
After 60kilometres of racing the breakaway had five minutes on the yellow jersey group/peloton that included ORICA-BikeExchange and the white jersey of Yates.
The peaks and valleys of today’s mountain stage meant that the advantage of the lead group was constantly in a state of flux and with 100kilometres to go the gap was nearly six minutes.
Moments later and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) climbed off his bike and abandoned the race due to difficulties resulting from the Spaniard's involvement in crashes over the first few days.
With sixty kilometres left to race and three tough climbs still to come the 20 riders out front had over seven minutes on the peloton.
At the start of the category two Cote de la Comelia the leaders had a whopping 10 and a half minutes advantage as they officially crossed the border into the principality of Andorra.
Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) broke clear of his breakaway companions inside the final 40kilometres, accelerating away before the penultimate climb the Col de Beixalis.
Nine minutes separated De Gendt and the Yates/Froome peloton that was beginning to reduce in size under the tempo being set by Team-Sky.
The Cote de Beixalis is a brutally steep climb that twists through the Andorran Pyrenees with unforgiving double figure gradients and once the remnants of the breakaway had caught De Gendt he was immediately dropped.
Ten riders now remained at the head of the race including Rafal Majka (Tinkoff), Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) and Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) alongside Jesus Harrada and Winner Anacona of Movistar.
The Hors category final climb up to Andorre-Alcalis officially started with ten kilometres to go and it was here that Dumoulin decided to attack gaining nearly a minute over the chasers in the first two kilometres of the ascent.
Five kilometres later and Dumoulin was alone at the front still around one minute ahead of the chasing Majka and Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida).
Repeated accelerations from Froome, Daniel Martin (Etixx-Quickstep) and Richie Porte (BMC) split the favourites group completely at three kilometres to go with Yates brilliantly following every move.
Dumoulin won the stage as the action continued on some eight minutes further down the mountain. Froome tried to shake his rivals again and again without success before 23-year-old Yates audaciously sprinted ahead of the group in the final metres to take 10th on the stage.
Tomorrow is the first rest day of this year’s Tour de France before the race recommences on Tuesday with stage ten, which covers 197 kilometres from Escaldes-Engordany to Revel.
Tour de France stage nine results:
1. Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) 05:16:24
2. Alberto Rui Ciosta (Lampre-Merida) 00:00:38
3. Rafal Majka (Tinkoff) 00:00:38
10. Adam Yates (ORICA-BikeExchange) 00:06:35
General classification after stage nine:
1. Christopher Froome (Team-Sky) 44:36:03
2. Adam Yates (ORICA-BikeExchange) 00:00:16
3. Daniel Martin (Etixx-Quickstep) 00:00:19