It seemed the young Brit had been foiled in his attempt to take the white jersey after an inflatable arch falls on him with 1km to go – although the race jury later ruled that his advantage should stand
Adam Yates has been promoted to second overall at the Tour de France and now leads the best young rider classification. Yates was seven seconds ahead of a group of overall contenders when an inflatable arch fell on him and he crashed heavily with one kilometre to race in the seventh stage to Lac de Payolle on Friday.
Initially, the official results showed his actual finishing time but a later jury decision elevated him to second spot overall, 5-50 behind race leader Greg Van Avermaet (BMC).
The race will present the white jersey to Yates in a ceremony on Saturday morning at the start in Pau and he will race the stage in it.
The Orica-BikeExchange Brit had attacked over the Col d’Aspin to try and gain the white jersey from Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx–Quick-Step).
With one kilometre remaining in the 162.5-kilometre stage from L’Isle-Jourdain, Yates was seven seconds ahead of the favourites group containing Sky’s Chris Froome and Alaphilippe. After the crash, he finished 8-15 after the stage winner, Steve Cummings (Dimension Data), and 4-29 behind Froome’s group. Blood could be seen coming from a cut on his chin.
Race organisation announced immediately that the jury would take the time of the group at three kilometres from the finish. Yates therefore wasn’t penalised, but it initially appeared he wouldn’t receive the advantage he had worked for as Alaphilippe was presented with the white jersey on the podium.
More than two hours later, however, the jury ruled that Yates had passed the three kilometre marker with seven seconds on the Alaphilippe group and awarded him the white jersey.
Prior to the change in results, Yates had said he was “beyond disappointed,” adding: “There’s not much you can do. When it came down on me, I had no time to react.
“At the top of the climb, I followed Dan Martin when he attacked. I took risks on the descent to get the white jersey. I had five to seven seconds, but that’s it.”
Yates received four stitches from the crash. He stood up as the peloton arrived, but sat back down. When he finished the stage, he was treated by a doctor.
“I have a cut shoulder, my wrist and knee are banged up, but I’m OK,” he said with a grin that showed his chin.
“I crash a lot on my chin! In San Sebastián I had eight stitches, then the time before seven stitches. Quite a lot of crashes on my chin, but I’m OK. You get on with it, what can you do.”
It appeared that one of the four motors pumping air in to the inflatable arch gave out and led to the collapse.
“I had a millisecond to react, but that’s not long enough to pull the brakes. The barrier came down and I hit it,” he added.
“It was good that it was just me on my own. If the peloton was there on a sprint stage, going 70 to 80 kilometres an hour, it would’ve been worse.”