Simon Yates digs deep for eighth on rough day for ORICA-GreenEDGE at the Tour de France

Mon 6 Jul 2015

Criterium du Dauphine best young rider, Simon Yates has dug deep for a brave eighth place on stage three of the Tour de France on what was otherwise a rough day for ORICA-GreenEDGE.

The team was the hardest hit in a horrific crash with 58km to go.  Five riders went down, including Simon Gerrans who was sadly forced to abandon immediately with a suspected fractured wrist.

Also hit with injuries, but able to return to their bikes was Simon Yates, Michael Matthews, Daryl Impey and Michael Albasini.

In the final, Simon Yates and brother Adam Yates arrived at the foot of the final climb of Mur de Huy in a much depleted front bunch.

As Sky pushed the pace up the climb, many dropped from the back. Meanwhile, Simon fought forward to finish eighth, 11seconds behind stage winner Joaquim Rodriguez (Team Katusha). Christopher Froome (Team Sky) finished second to move into the yellow jersey.

“It was a very impressive ride from Simon, especially considering he was pretty banged up,” sport director Matt White said. “I don’t know how he did it, but to go head to head with those guys it’s a very good sign.“

“Normally, his injuries aren’t too bad and hopefully they’ll heal up in a few days time, so today’s a good sign for targets ahead.”

A group of four riders established the move of the day and reached a maximum of 3:45minutes after 40km of racing.

With the general classification teams at the fore, the pace in the peloton increased and the gap began to plummet in anticipation of the series of climbs that characterised today’s finale.

The race was neutralised following the main crash with 58km to go, as emergency vehicles tended to a large number of riders in trouble.

Once racing resumed, a change of wind saw a split in the bunch but after the lessons of yesterday, it was back together with 30km to go.

As Team Sky and Tinkoff-Saxo pushed the pace on the final three climbs - those also used as the finale of the Fleche Wallone earlier this year - before a small group was left to fight it out for victory up the final ascent.

Post race, all ORICA-GreenEDGE riders involved in the crash were evaluated and treated.

Gerrans’ wrist fracture was confirmed, whilst scans revealed a fractured collarbone for Impey, who will also not start tomorrow.

Simon Yates, Albasini and Matthews will continue to be monitored overnight but are expected to start tomorrow.

“We had five guys involved in the crash, so we definitely had some bad luck today,” White said. “Unfortunately that’s cycling.”

“We obviously feel for Gerro and Impey, and the other riders who were forced to withdraw, who have had to end their Tour de France campaign here after working so hard to hit peak form.

“The other guys will continue to be assessed by our medical team. Tomorrow’s cobbles could come at a better time, but we are hopeful that after a few days, the guys will heal up again.”