Yates survives the chaos of Mont Ventoux still in the White jersey and second overall

Thu 14 Jul 2016

Adam Yates produced a strong performance for ORICA-BikeExchange on stage 12 of the Tour de France today, retaining the lead of the best young rider category and second overall after chaotic scenes engulfed the finale.

Stage 12 had been reduced in length by six kilometres due to dangerously strong winds whipping across the top of Mont Ventoux, bringing the finish down to Chalet Reynard.

Despite the change to the final kilometres, the ‘Giant of Provence’ remained a tough climb and the race duly came alive on its slopes.

Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) won the stage from the breakaway as total chaos ensued amongst the favourites group some five minutes behind.

Richie Porte (BMC) crashed into an obstructed race motorcycle on a crowded section of road and took yellow jersey Christopher Froome (Team-Sky) down with him. The congested number of fans appeared to be the cause of the roadblock.

At this point Yates was a few seconds further back and passed the incident unscathed to finish in 11th place.

After careful consideration by the race officials the general classification was neutralised before the Porte incident. Therefore Froome remains in the race lead and Yellow with Yates in white, 47seconds down in second place ahead of tomorrow’s individual time trial.

Yates agreed with the decision by the race officials saying, “I wouldn’t really want to take the yellow jersey like that so I’m happy with the decision.”

“If I was in Froome’s position and if I’d lost the jersey like that I would want the same decision as him.

“It was pretty dangerous in the last kilometre. The fans make the sport and there is not many sports where they can get so close to the athletes, but saftey does need to improve."

2016 Tour Down Under champion Simon Gerrans was involved in a high-speed crash with 30kilometres to go and unfortunately has been forced to withdraw from the Tour de France after sustaining a broken collarbone.

Sport director Matt White praised the solid performance from Yates and echoed the growing concerns for rider safety.

“Adam (Yates) was once again riding alongside the big race favourites,” said White. “He even managed to try and bridge the gap to the Froome trio, unfortunately that never came to fruition because of the absurd end to the stage.”

“The safety of the riders should never be put in jeopardy under any circumstances and we need better measures to make sure that situations like today never happen again.

“Tomorrow will be an extremely important day for us,” continued White. “It will be a lot easier to assess our general classification possibilities after the stage. Adam has already had an incredible Tour so far and there is no pressure on him to approach things any differently than before.”

How it happened:

Another sunny and windy morning saw the peloton take to the start of stage 12 in Montpellier today with the daunting climb up Mont Ventoux waiting up the road.

A fast and nervous start to the stage ensued with 14 riders attacking in the first 20kilometres with a smaller group of six giving chase.

After 30kilometres of racing the breakaway had around nine minutes on the peloton with the six chasers in the middle at three minutes.

The advantage of the leaders swelled to a massive eighteen minutes over the peloton with 100kilometres left to race. There were now only 13 riders in the breakaway and the group of chasers over five minutes behind.

The wind began to cause problems with 85kilometres to go, a group of around 40 riders lost contact with the peloton as echelons began to form.

Twelve minutes separated the 13 leaders and the Yates/Froome peloton going into the final 60kilometres with strong crosswinds whipping across the plain towards Mont Ventoux.

The bunch, now reduced to 40 riders, were chasing with increased speed and determination, reducing the gap to less than ten minutes with 50kilometres to go.

ORICA-BikeEchange were trading pulls with Etixx-Quickstep at the front of the group, steadily picking off the stragglers from the earlier chase group as the leaders were at eight minutes.

A heavy crash occurred in the peloton at 56kph with 30kilometres to go involving Gerrans and Chris Juul-Jensen along with members of Team-Sky both ORICA-BikeExchange riders got back on their bikes and made it back to the bunch.

Mont Ventoux now loomed large on the near horizon and the leaders hit the climb eight minutes ahead of the yellow jersey group and began the ascent to the finish.

Two kilometres into Mont Ventoux and both groups began to split with the race for the stage win was intensifying seven minutes up the road from the race for the overall.

Three riders were left at the front, De Gendt, Serge Pauwels (Dimension-Data) and Dani Navaro (Cofidis) with seven kilometres remaining and the favourites group now starting the climb.

Nairo Quintana (Movistar) was one of the first to try an attack but could not escape the steady tempo of Team Sky as the race began to heat up in the final kilometres.

Daniel Martin (Etixx-Quickstep) was dropped from the favourites group that had reduced to ten riders. Froome attacked with four kilometres left with Quintana and Porte jumping on his wheel.

A few seconds later and Froome went again with Quintana losing contact before being passed by Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) who bridged to Porte and Froome.

De Gendt won the stage ahead of Pauwels as the action continued a few minutes behind when Porte crashed into a motorbike on a crowded section of road and took Froome and Mollema down with him.

Yates was a few seconds further back and avoided the incident to finish in 11th place whilst Froome changed bikes and frantically gave chase, finally making it over the line.

Tomorrow’s stage 13 is a 37.5kilometre individual time trial from Bourg-Saint-Andeol to La Caverne du Pont-Arc. A challenging course that begins with an immediate climb before following rolling roads to a technical descent then a final dragging climb to the line.

Tour de France stage 12 results:

1. Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) 04:31:51
2. Serge Pauwels (Dimension-Data) 00:00:02
3. Dani Navarro (Cofidis) 00:00:14
4. Adam Yates (ORICA-BikeExchange) 00:05: 

General classification after stage 12:

1. Christopher Froome (Team Sky) 57:11:33
2. Adam Yates (ORICA-BikeExchange) 00:00:47
3. Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) 00:00:56