Yates rides beyond his years on Dauphine queen stageSat 13 Jun 2015
22-year-old Simon Yates has put in a smart and brave ride, well beyond his years, to finish 11th on the queen stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné to Mont Blanc today.
Yates battled back into contention after losing touch on a number of occasions throughout the brutal stage, including on the third and fourth of five category one climbs.
Eventually, he was dropped amongst other general classification contenders on the final climb as the remaining race exploded into pieces courtesy of the work of Team Sky.
On a day that saw a shake up of the overall standings, Yates dropped just one position to sit fifth and retain the white best young rider jersey going into the final day tomorrow.
“Simon knew that when there are so many climbs still to come and you are already feeling on the limit, that it is not worth going over it because you cannot keep going and lose a lot of time,” sport director Laurenzo Lapage said.
“We said it to him, but he already knew and he did it, it was a clever ride. It’s part of his overall talent and if he has it now, he will have it even more in the future.”
The first attack was allowed free in the first five kilometres; 14 riders moving clear ahead of a grueling 155km, six climb queen stage.
As some dropped off the pace at the front, counter attacls were successful and the lead group at it’s biggest had 26 riders.
ORICA-GreenEDGE opted to conserve its resources and followed as Team Sky began the chase halfway through the day.
Despite losing touch on a couple of occasions Yates remained in contention, thanks to some help from brother Adam Yates, until the final climb.
“Simon had great help from the team, especially from his brother in the end and he came through really well, is still in fifth overall and still with the young rider jersey, which is great,” Lapage said.
As the race shredded to even smaller pieces, Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) proved stronger than the rest. Froome won the stage solo whilst van Garderen fought on to claim back the yellow jersey.
There is little relief for the final day of racing, as another six climbs await the peloton in the 156.6km journey from Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc to Modone Valfrejus.
Reaction from Simon Yates, via Dauphine:
"I didn't have the same good legs as yesterday, that's for sure. I've thought about saving energy since the first climbs but at the end of the day, it's been a good day. At some stage I got dropped but I managed to come back with the help of my team. It took us some time, for instance with Ivan Santaromita who stayed with me. It was hard. He was giving me food and drinks but there wasn't much we could do. I was thinking it was the same for everyone. Now I don't know if I'll be able to keep the white jersey. The gap to Bardet isn't very important and I know he's a warrior. For sure he'll try something to get the jersey back. But I'll give my best."