Yates 2nd on final stage of Dauphine to secure 5th overall and best young riderSun 14 Jun 2015
22-year-old Simon Yates has put in an incredible ride on the final stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné to finish second and secure fifth overall and best young rider.
Yates remained close on the wheel of white jersey threat Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) as an elite group of less than ten riders remained to contest the final climb.
The British climber then made a move to distance him and go on to finish 18seconds behind solo winner Chris Froome (Team Sky) who also claimed the overall title.
“Had I been promised to finish fifth overall at the start of the week, I would have signed for it,” Yates said.
“It wasn't just a battle against Bardet for the white jersey. I wanted to beat as many guys as I could on GC, even Rui Costa but that didn't work out. I'm happy with fifth place.”
Going into the final day of racing sport director Laurenzo Lapage predicted another strong performance by Yates, and he delivered.
“If you saw yesterday, he didn’t finish ‘dead’,” Lapage said. “He had a bad day with bad legs, but he was still strong despite suffering.”
“What he did… second behind Froome, white jersey, in front of some top climbers who are in great shape going to the Tour de France, what can you say?”
Piece by piece the day’s breakaway of 13 formed for the final 156.5km stage at the Critérium du Dauphiné.
But after 80km Tony Martin (Etixx-Quickstep) decided to go alone and remained out front for much of the remaining journey, caught with 18km to go.
The chase group was down to eight riders as it moved back into the head of the race before Stephen Cummings (MTN Qhubeka) also tried his luck solo.
As the general classification battle began from behind, an elite group of around ten riders remained on the final climb, including the major contenders and Yates.
“The priority was to wait as long as possible,” Lapage said. “To sit around the big boys, particularly Bardet to protect the white jersey.”
“The team took him to a good position every time he needed so that was great and then he had the legs to follow the big riders and in the end he was attacking them.”
The inevitable attack by Froome came with a little under three kilometres to go as Tejay Van Garderen (BMC Racing) tried to go with him to defend the yellow jersey.
Yates made a move from behind, taking Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) with him. The pair caught Van Garderen to take the minor stage placings, 18seconds behind Froome.
“We said before the race that coming here and getting a good result in the team time trial and going for a stage win was the priority,” Lapage said.
“Actually, until the final two days we didn’t say to Simon to go for the overall, we wanted to keep the pressure off.
“But getting fifth at 22years of age at the Dauphine is not something everyone can do, so we of course had to change the plan.”