No arms in the air, no flamboyant wheelie, no shout of joy… just a shrug. When Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEdge) crossed the finish line in the Clásica de San Sebastián on Saturday he hadn’t realised that he had won the race.
For such a massive win ahead of established stars such as Philippe Gilbert (BMC) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), you would have expected punches in the air, fist-pumps and a roar of delight.
Instead, Yates trundled over the line pointing to himself and saying ‘who me?’ as the crowd and his Orica-GreenEdge team were trying to explain to him – convince, even – that he had won.
Yates thought that there was at least one rider in front of him, but previous attacker Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) had tangled with a motorbike and crashed at the side of the road.
It certainly ranks among the oddest race wins we’ve seen, and came at the end of a race that no-one could watch on television due to a coverage blackout. The aeroplane used to relay live television coverage developed a fault during the race, and information being passed from teams to riders was confused and sporadic.
The Orica-GreenEdge team later explained on their Facebook page: “There was a lot happening on the final climb. Break ahead, a crash with motorbike so he wasn’t sure he passed everyone. Crowd was too loud so he couldn’t hear the radio.”
When the penny finally did drop, Yates did raise his arms in the air and celebrate, before being hugged by his team. Not only is it Yates’s first win of 2015, but it’s also the biggest of his career to date.
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