White jersey Yates remains in second overall ahead of Mont VentouxWed 13 Jul 2016
Adam Yates leader of the Tour de France best young rider category finished in 15th place for ORICA-BikeExchange on stage 11 today, holding on to his white jersey and second place overall.
Crashes peppered the start of a dangerous, tense and windy stage that saw the field split on many occasions before finally coming back together in the last 30kilometres with Yates up near the front third of the peloton.
With ten kilometres to go a stage winning by move sprint leader Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) was followed by race leader Christopher Froome (Team-Sky) with the pair eventually duking it out in the sprint won by Sagan.
Yates reacted well and was part of the first group of chasers who contested the top ten, crossing the line in 15th place, six seconds behind the stage winner and holding onto second on the general classification.
White jersey holder Yates is 28seconds behind Froome ahead of tomorrow’s tough stage 12, which tackles the monstrous Mont Ventoux, arguably the most brutal summit finish in cycling.
Sport director Matt White was happy for the team to come through the stage unscathed and in one-piece ahead of stage 12.
“It was a very nerve-racking stage today,” said White. “There was a lot of tension in the peloton because of the strong wind and the road furniture which caused a few crashes in the early part of the race.”
“I am happy that the team all came through unscathed and without any issues. Adam (Yates) has a strong group of big guys around him and we didn’t have any problems today.
“Not a lot of riders gained time today but there were a few who lost a little bit and we are in a good position ahead of tomorrows stage up to Mont Ventoux.
“It’s a big test and we are excited about the challenge, everyone knows that Ventoux is a tough climb and it will be interesting to see how it plays out.”
How it happened:
Strong winds welcomed the riders to the start in picturesque Carcassonne with an attack forming in the first few metres out of the neutral zone.
The two riders who went clear, Leigh Howard (IAM-Cycling) and Arthur Vichot (FDJ), worked well together at the outset developing two-minute lead over the first 20kilometres.
A series of minor crashes occurred in the first hour of racing on the narrow winding roads out of Carcassonne, resulting in the peloton easing off and allowing the duo out front the opportunity to extend their advantage.
After 60kilometres of racing Howard and Vichot had over four minutes on the peloton as the wind began to play a part in proceedings.
Echelons split the bunch with 90kilometres to go as a big group formed at the front with 30 or more riders some 40seconds behind.
Fifteen kilometres later and there was seven groups on the road with breakaway about to be caught by Team Sky who led the large first group of chasers.
When Howard and Vichot were finally caught with 60kilometres remaining there was still a group of riders off the back less than a minute behind.
The peloton eased off going into the last 40kilometres, reforming completely as the second group finally made contact.
A nervous final 30kilometres followed with the peloton brimming with tension approaching the last ten kilometres.
Froome and Sky teammate Geraint Thomas followed a late attack by Sagan and Maciej Bodnar (Tinkoff) with the quartet quickly gaining 30seconds on the peloton.
Yates reacted quickly and was part of the second chasing group who brought the gap back to around ten seconds going into the last kilometre.
Sagan won the sprint ahead of second place Froome as the peloton rounded the final corner only six seconds behind. Yates crossed the line in 15th place and retains the white jersey and second place.
Tomorrow's stage 12 returns to the mountains for 184kilometres from Montpellier to the infamous Mont Ventoux. The Hors category Ventoux is difficult climb noted for its length and unforgiving gradients – 21km at 7.5%. The summit is like a lunar landscape and dangerously exposed to the strong southerly winds from the Mediterranean.
Tour de France stage 11 results:
1. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) 03:26:23
2. Christopher Froome (Team Sky) ST
3. Maciej Bodnar (Tinkoff) ST
15. Adam Yates (ORICA-BikeExchange) 00:00:06
General classification after stage 11:
1. Christopher Froome (Team-Sky) 52:43:37
2. Adam Yates (ORICA-BikeExchange) 00:00:28
3. Daniel Martin (Etixx-Quickstep) 00:00:31