Adam Yates is "flourishing at the moment" in the difficult parts of races, according to Mitchelton-Scott team bosses, as the Brit builds his form ahead of this summer's Grand Tours.
Racing the Tour of the Basque Country last week, Yates took the final stage win of the six-day race with a daring attack to finish fifth overall, 51 seconds down on winner Ion Izagirre (Astana).
During the stage, Yates found himself in a five-man breakaway alongside UAE Team Emirates' Dan Martin and Tadej Pogacar, as well as two Astana riders, Jakob Fuglsang and Ion Izagirre, with Yates waiting until 3.5km to the finish to attack and do enough to hold off the group, winning by just one second.
The race ended in farce, however, as Emmanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe), who started the day leading the general classification, finished third overall after following a television motorcycle the wrong way in the final few hundred metres.
"We knew it was the last chance to win and I think Astana had the idea they wanted to win the GC. It was a crazy day, the pace was super high all day and I think when Bora had the lead, teams like Astana knew they really had to push the pace to drop these guys, so they had to start early," Yates said.
"With 65km to go, the pace was super hard and luckily I had some teammates there to really push the pace. Then from there on the five of us worked well and it was just in the final when I attacked and managed to stay away to win, so it was a really great day."
Mitchelton-Scott sport director Julian Dean said: “It was always going to be a key day today being a short stage and aggressive with lots of climbs in close succession. So it was always our aim to make the day as difficult as possible. When it gets difficult is when Adam seems to be flourishing at the moment, so that was our tactic and we were able to profit form it.
"Our objective was to finish on the podium and win a stage, we won a stage and just missed the podium and it was good that the guys were able to overcome that first road stage when Adam punctured. They were able to keep fighting on and still try to achieve the goals that we set out to at the start. It is signs of a real good quality group.”
The 26-year-old will take encouragement from his performance in the Basque Country, after he lost the overall win in Tirreno-Adriatico by one second to Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma), which left Yates with "a bad taste in the mouth".
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