Yates climbs to third on Gibraltar roadMon 14 May 2018
As promised the stage two summit finish on Gibraltar Road brought the Tour of California to life with Adam Yates showing that his recovery from a fractured pelvis is on track with an impressive third place.
Mitchelton-SCOTT kept Yates well hidden on what turned out to be a steady day behind the breakaway until the fireworks started on the final climb.
Team-Sky whittled down a group of favourites over the steep and scenic slopes above Santa Barbara before a selection was formed with less than two kilometres remaining.
Egan Bernal (Team-Sky) took the stage victory a few seconds ahead of Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Yates in third with those three riders now forming the top three of the general classification.
Stage two started by the sea in Ventura Beach and after an opening day dedicated to the sprinters the GC riders were set to be the protagonists as the race hit the climbs for the first time.
A trio of riders went clear out of the neutral zone and the peloton sat up immediately with the leaders gaining over four minutes by the halfway point.
The pace remained steady throughout and aided by a tailwind on the approach to the final climb up Gibraltar Road, the peloton finally brought back the break with less than 25kilometres to race.
BMC-Racing and Team-Sky showed their cards early and had riders all over the front as the road started to rise over the green slopes and twisting turns that overlook the blue of the Pacific as the main bunch dramatically started to reduce.
Forty riders quickly became twenty and then less as Sky continued to drive the pace, Yates, protected throughout was up near the front when the splits came and matched every move apart from the acceleration of Bernal.
Going clear with two kilometres to go the young Colombian held on for the stage win with Yates in third and Majka in second.
Adam Yates – third:
“It wasn’t that hard today to be honest, it was quite windy on the coast, but until the final climb the pace was pretty steady, and the guys kept me well protected until the road started to rise and from there I was on own.”
“I feel pretty good and I am happy with how it went. It’s my first race back from injury and I did as well as can be as expected with my recovery. The guys that beat me were stronger than me today, but I am on the right track and said at the start of the race I would be happy with a top ten spot and we’re heading in the right direction.”
Sport director Matt Wilson:
“Adam and the guys did a great job today, it wasn’t as hard as we expected, and they were able to look after Adam through the bulk of the stage and leave him in a great position at the foot of Gibraltar road.”
“He fractured his pelvis six weeks ago so to come back from that and produce that performance after only four weeks of training on the bike is fantastic and we are very happy with how his recovery is going.”
Tour of California stage two results:
1. Egan Bernal (Team-Sky) 04:14:00
2. Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) +0:21
3. Adam Yates(Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:25
General Classification after stage two:
1. Egan Bernal (Team-Sky) 07:16:13
2. Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) +0:25
3. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:31
Photos courtesy of Getty Images.