Yates climbs with the best and finishes 8th on stage five of the Tour de France

Wed 6 Jul 2016

British climber Adam Yates rode well on today’s stage five of the Tour de France as the race hit the hills of the Massif Central, giving ORICA-BikeExchange their third top ten of the 2016 Tour.

The 216 kilometre stage was won from the breakaway by Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) who also moved into the race lead and the yellow jersey.

23-year-old Yates was part of a selection of favourites that formed on the penultimate climb. The 2015 Classica Ciclista San Sebastian winner looked comfortable as the speed increased and the race favourites started to have a good look at one another on the first real ascents of this year's Tour.

The group finished together with Yates in eighth place on the stage and now 13th overall with the objective for ORICA-BikeExchange still very much a stage win.

Sport director Matt White praised the performance of Yates and the team on a tough day in the hills.

“We thought it was going to be a very aggressive day,” said White. “It was a medium mountains stage and Movistar did what we thought Team Sky were going to do and put the pressure on over the final climbs.”

“Quite a few teams were in difficulty towards the end and it is a really nice start from Adam (Yates) on our first entry into the mountains. On the whole I am pleased with how the team rode today.

“There is a long way to go in the race and we are still on the hunt for stage wins, that’s our primary objective and when we see an opportunity we will go for it.”

How it happened:

A beautiful sunny morning welcomed riders to the start of stage five in Limoges with 216 hilly kilometres ahead through the picturesque Massif Central.

A breakaway of nine riders formed after a series of attacks within the first 20kilometres and began to develop a significant lead.

The group included Van Avermaet, Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) and Rafal Majka (Tinkoff).

Initially working well together, the nine leaders had a growing lead of seven minutes after 50kilomtres of racing.

Disharmony began to creep into the lead group after the first climb of the day and three riders duly attacked off the front and began to distance their former companions.

Van Avermaet, De Gendt and Andriy Grivko (Astana) were now the three leaders and after 116kilometres they had eleven minutes on the Tinkoff led peloton and two minutes on the six chasers.

The De Gendt trio extended their advantage to over fourteen minutes before Team Sky began to take up the chase with 65kilometres remaining.

The final 50kilometres included three categorised climbs and and as the three leaders crested the Col de Neronne with 40kilometres to go, the gap had been reduced to 12minutes.

The spectacular ridges of the Massif Central region provided the stage with a stunning backdrop, taxing the skills of the peloton with the sharp climbs and the technical descents.

Three became two when compatriots Van Avermaet and De Gendt dropped Grivko on the 1,500m Pas de Peyrol. Movistar were now leading the chase from the peloton, eight minutes behind the leading pair with 30kilometres to go.

Splits were forming throughout the peloton as Movistar continued to drive the pace on the ascent with a selection of around 30 riders able to stay with the tempo of the Spanish team.

The select group of chasers included Yates for ORICA-BikeExchange and with 15 kilometres remaining they were less than five minutes behind Van Avermaet and two minutes behind the remnants of the breakaway.

Van Avermaet won the stage two minutes in front of De Gendt in second and some five minutes ahead of the chasing group of favourites.

Majka took the third as the group rounded the final corner with Yates crossing the line in eighth place on the stage and moving into 13th on the general classification.

Stage six takes place tomorrow and covers 190.5 kilometres from Apajon-sur-Crere to Montauban. Another stage that holds potential success for the breakaway or the opportunist sprinter. The parcours includes three categorised climbs before a relatively flat run to the finish in Montauban.

Tour de France stage five results:

1. Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) 05:31:36
2. Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) 00:02:34
3. Rafal Majka (Tinkoff) 00:05:04
8. Adam Yates (ORICA-BikeExchange) 00:05:07 

General classification after stage five:

1. Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) 25:34:46
2. Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-Quickstep) 00:05:11
3. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) 00:05:13
13. Adam Yates (ORICA-BikeExchange) 00:05:1