Simon Yates impressive, Tuft top finisher in opening Tour de France time trialSat 4 Jul 2015
After much anticipation, the 2015 Tour de France got underway in Utrecht today, Canadian Svein Tuft the top finisher for ORICA-GreenEDGE in the 13.8km individual time trial.
Tuft crossed the finish line 45seconds behind Rohan Dennis’ (BMC Racing) winning time of 14minutes 56seconds to claim 25th position on the first stage.
Each of ORICA-GreenEDGE’s first three riders on the road - Luke Durbridge (2nd), Tuft (3rd) and Simon Yates (10th) – sat inside the top ten at their time of finishing before eventually recording 32nd, 25th and 33rd places respectively.
For sport director Matt White, it was Yates’ performance that stood out – the 22-year-old losing just one second to Tuft and finishing on the same time as former Australian time trial champion Durbridge.
“The most impressive ride for us today was Simon Yates,” White said. “Svein and Durbo were around the mark of where we thought they would be but for Simon Yates to finish alongside those guys in a time trial of that distance is pretty impressive.”
“Simon is not a pure time triallist so this is a good indication of his condition.
“When you look at the size of Svein and Durbo, Simon is probably giving away 20kg. But he is a pretty complete bike rider and this result personifies that.”
For Yates, it was a relief to find his race legs after spending a little bit of time off the bike in the last week.
“I am really happy with the way I rode,” Yates said. “I had my legs as well, which I wasn’t quite sure I would have because I’ve had some dental problems in the last week. But I am happy to be over that now and showing that I haven’t lost any form since the Dauphine.”
“The faster it is the better it is for me,” Yates said about the course. “It plays into my track background.”
“Once you were riding the course full gas, it was actually quite a technical course. Some of the corners could have been a bit dicey but I am comfortable on my time trial bike these days so I think that helps a lot and I think it showed as well.”
Tomorrow’s second stage from Utrecht to Zelande is about as flat as a racing profile can get. It features one sprint point at the 80.5km mark but the first king of the mountains jersey will not be decided for another day.
On paper it looks simple, but it is predicted to be anything but as winds threaten to play a major role.
“One stage down, everyone is in one piece and we can now focus on what is likely to be a very stressful first road stage,” White said. “They have been predicting winds of 40kmph and we are right on the coast.”