Climbers Come to Fore at Trofeo Deià

Tue 11 Feb 2014

Simon Yates was our top finisher at Trofeo Deià, slotting into 13th place. The Brit was part of an 18 rider chase group that formed in the wake of Michal Kwiatkowski  (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step), who won the third day of the Challenge Mallorca in a solo bid for the line. Yates’ group came to the finish 27” adrift of the race winner.

Kwiatkowski bridged across to the early break of the day with Sergio Henao (Team Sky) for company. The duo made contact with the six rider move on the slopes of the first category Puig Major. On the sharp descent that followed the final categorised ascent of the day, Kwiatkowski made his move, dropping the small front group as he plunged toward the finish. Yates and company swept up Henao and the remnants of the early break on the descent.

“I felt pretty good on the climb,” said Yates. “My legs felt decent. I haven’t had the best preparation. I’ve had some dental problems and some stress with the move to Girona as well. It’s not great prep, but I’m happy with where I’m at all things considered. Hopefully, I’ll continue to improve in the next few races.”

The stage started quickly. The course featured a second category climb from the gun, and the lower slopes set the scene for constant attacks. Eventually a six rider move took shape.

“It’s always a fast start from Deià,” said Sport Director Neil Stephens. “It’s a difficult start straight up the first climb.The attacks began at kilometre zero. A few of the boys went for a ride before the start, and the guys that didn’t go for a ride certainly regretted it.”

“Christian Meier was up the road in one of the early beak attempts,” Stephen added. “There were several breaks that went away before the break of the day formed.”

The six rider breakaway gained nearly ten minutes before Team Sky and Movistar combined forces to peg back the move. As they began the Puig Major, the breakaway had only two minutes over their chasers. 

“There was the usual fighting for position before the hairpins at the start of the climb,” noted Yates. “Alba [Michael Albasini] was pulling on the front at one point, and Christian helped me move up. I started the climb with Esteban [Chaves], who did a great ride if you think about where he is and what’s been through since his crash. Once you hit the climb, you either have it or you haven’t.”

Both of the Yates brother crested the summit of the Puig Major with the first large group on the road. Adam lost contact on the descent as Simon put up a brave fight to stay with the group. 

“Adam was caught behind a few guys that lost the wheel on the descent,” said Neil. “Simon wasn’t ideally placed on the descent, but he was there. It was a nice placing. It’s not a win, but it’s good for his confidence to show that he can stay with this sort of group.”

Michael Matthews pulled the plug on the race when hit the feed zone. Although Chaves had also planned to complete only half the race, he decided to test himself to the finish.

“As forecasted, Michael pulled out of the race,” said Stephens. “He’s really motivated for tomorrow. It’s a stage that’s good for him. Hopefully the easy day today helps his legs for tomorrow.”

“Esteban did not stop,” Stephens continued. “He got a little excited and said he wanted to see how he could do on the climb. In hindsight, he probably should have stuck to the plan and stopped off in the feed zone with Michael. He’s a little bit fatigued and disappointed that he didn’t go better. We’re really pleased with the progress so far. He didn’t need to continue.”