Yates 7th overall heading into final Romandie time trial

Sat 2 May 2015

British climber Simon Yates has finished 13th on the queen stage of the Tour de Romandie to head into tomorrow’s final time trial in seventh position overall.

On the final climb and with seven kilometres to go, Yates was amongst a select group of around ten riders at the head of the race but began to lose touch in the final five kilometres.

The 22-year-old tried to battle on, regaining contact on a number of occasions before eventually dropping back to finish one minute, seven seconds behind solo winner Thibaut Pinot (FDJ).

“Simon was riding well, obviously on the limit riding with the best bike riders in the world,” sport director Neil Stephens said.

“He knew he was about to crack and he did crack but instead of keeping a cool head, he tried to fight back, he got on again, cracked again, tried to fight back again then when he did crack for good (Vincenzo) Nibali and a couple of other riders went through.

“He conceded that he should probably have rode within himself and rode a bit smarter but by the same token they might have propped at one stage.  It’s hard not to get excited, riding up a climb with (Nairo) Quintana and (Chris) Froome and those guys. You never know if you don’t try.”

As they took off at the beginning of the day, the peloton faced no fewer than four category one climbs on the 166.1km queen stage.

The brave duo of Maxim Belkov (Team Katusha) and Bryan Naulleau (Team Europcar) were allowed to move off the front and rode almost eight minutes up the road from a relaxed peloton as they approached the first climb on the day.

By second ascent, the gap was down to four and a half minutes and the peloton was already significantly reduced.

Belkov was the longest survivor of the early move, hanging out in front until just under 20km to go as the general classification teams began to flex their muscles for the final climb.

Back to back attacks began on the climb, as the front group whittled down and few teams had the support of multiple riders.

Eventually was the move of Pinot, with Ilnur Zakarin (Team Katusha) in pursuit, which proved successful. Zakarin didn’t manage to bridge across, but did manage to minimise the damage to seven seconds to claim the leader’s jersey from ORICA-GreenEDGE’s Michael Albasini heading into the final day.

Along with the rest of the team and despite his race lead, Albasini fully committed to a support role for Yates, a display that was pleasing to see for Stephens.