Yates rises strongly again with ninth on the Tirreno queen stageSat 10 Mar 2018
The queen stage of any stage race usually bears witness to a classification shake up of some kind and today’s day in the mountains at Tirreno-Adriatico was no different, a hard day saw Briton Adam Yates produce another strong performance to take ninth place.
Another long day in the saddle saw the race explode on the final climb of the day with Mitchelton-SCOTT charged with delivering Yates into a good position ahead of the climb. The Australian outfit picked it up with 25kilometres to go with other teams following suit, setting a high pace onto the low slopes of Sassotetto.
In the end the fireworks came closer to the summit with Mikel Landa (Movistar) winning the stage and Yates only six-seconds behind in ninth and up to 14th overall and 50seconds down on the new race leader Damiano Caruso (BMC-Rcaing-Team).
Six riders escaped on the first climb out of Foligno and gained four minutes on the bunch within the first 20kilometres, eventually stretching their lead out to six minutes over the first half of the stage.
Good conditions throughout the saw the break hold on to their lead until the road started to rise in earnest with less than 50kilometres to race and Team-Sky setting the pace.
Despite the increase in speed the catch didn’t happen until the race hit the final climb, as expected the favoutites waited until Sarnano to really drive it on.
Sarnano Sassotetto and a Summit Finish:
Astana hit the front inside the closing 12kilometres and blew the race apart, the peloton reduced to a group of around 30riders and the break splintered then faltered before finally giving up the ghost.
Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) was the first to attack and his dig drew out Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) and others as the favourites group continued to reduce up the snow-covered slopes. Yates was alongside the blue jersey of Geraint Thomas (Team-Sky) as the front split further into the last kilometre.
Landa was leading a quartet that included Majka into the final 500metres with Yates chasing hard behind and as the road levelled into the finishing straight it was Landa who sprinted to the win with Yates in ninth.
Adam Yates – Ninth:
“It was another tough and long day in the saddle, but the team looked after me really well and set me up in a good position going onto the last climb.”
“We knew that positioning would be important and towards the end we got the guys on the front to bring the break back and try to set ourselves up to go for the stage win if it all came back together on the last climb.
“In the end there were some strong guys up there with god legs and I just did the best I could. Tomorrow might be another opportunity, there’s some challenging, steep climbs across the stage and it will be the last chance before Caleb Ewan and the sprinters come back into play on Monday.”
Head Sport director Matt White:
“The past two days have both been really solid stages across central Italy totalling some 13hours of racing and we decided to move the guys up before the final climb to shave some time off the breakaway and also to position Adam for the finale.”
“He climbed well again today, he’s just outside the top ten on GC now and the plan will be to try and move him up again tomorrow. That group who contested the stage, I don’t know exactly how many guys were in there, but they are the best climbers in the race and Adam showed he is up there with them again today.”
Tirreno-Adriatico stage four results:
1. Mikel Landa (Movistar) O6:22:13
2. Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) ST
3. George Bennet (LottoNL-Jumbo) ST
9. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:06
General classification after stage four:
1. Damiano Caruso (BMC-Racing-Team) 17:14:49
2. Michal Kwiatkowski (Team-Sky) +0:01
3. Wilco Kelderman (Team-Sunweb) +0:11
14. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:50
Photos courtesy of Getty Images.