Simon Yates described his victory atop Haytor on today’s sixth Tour of Britain stage as the best of his career so far.
This was the first summit finish in the 10-year history of the race, and Yates (Great Britain) powered away from an exclusive front group containing the likes of race leader Bradley Wiggins, Nairo Quintana and Dan Martin in sight of the line to the delight of the large cheering crowds in Devon.
“I think with the calibre of the competition, you can’t beat that really,” the 21-year-old said afterwards.
“I think from my position I couldn’t really dictate anything, I just had to wait and wait and wait. Slowly people were just slipping off the back and the attacks from Quintana and Dan Martin and such just worked them down, and I just chose my moment as I got up to the line.”
Yates’ pedigree as one of the sport’s exciting prospects was emphasised last month as he won back-to-back stages of the Tour de l’Avenir in France, considered by many as the most prestigious race for under-23 riders. He also won the points race at this year’s Track World Championships in Minsk, however this success showed how well he can compete against some of the world’s best on the road.
“I think when there’s no stress and no pressure that’s when I go well and that’s the way I do things really,” he said.
“I’m just glad to be there really. I think, as I said, there’s no pressure on me, I’ve just got to do the best I can and if that’s keeping up with them boys then that’s all I can ask for,” he said
Despite being a part of British Cycling’s Olympic Academy Programme – which has close links to Team Sky – Yates and his twin-brother Adam are rumoured to have signed for Orica-GreenEdge next season.
One source even told Cycling Weekly that a deal with the Australian team was set to be signed today, but Yates was non-committal on this.
“Nothing really settled really, nothing finalised, but I’m very hopeful,” he declared, but unfortunately for him, race leader Wiggins appeared to confirm the rumours.
“Greenpeace isn’t he, next year,” said the Sky rider, using his nickname for the Australian set-up.
“I just said he’s already a world champion which says it all really for his age, he’s Britain’s next star really.”