Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) leaves Italy with a bad taste in his mouth after losing his race lead in Tirreno-Adriatico on the final day time trial.
The Brit slipped to second overall after the final 10km test as many predicted he would.
Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma), who sat second overall after six days, moved up to take the race win.
Yates rode a strong time trial and almost held on to his lead, showing improvement in what has always been his Achilles’ heel, he lost the race by just one second to his Slovenian rival.
“It leaves a bad taste in your mouth, but we did the best we could,” Yates said. “This time it wasn’t good enough but there are plenty more races in the season. I’ve showed my condition is good.”
He held the blue leader’s jersey through the lower mountains of Le Marche and heading into the final time trial. However, he watched Roglič celebrate on the final podium in San Benedetto del Tronto.
“We were in the lead for pretty much the whole race,” Yates added. “We won the [stage one] team time trial and went close to two stage wins, why shouldn’t we be happy?”
The team opened up the race with a TTT win, narrowly avoiding a lady crossing the road with her dog and putting Michael Hepburn in the lead. Yates took over the next day and fought off all of his rivals but Roglič remained within striking distance.
“As I said, 25 seconds was not a comfortable margin and that proved to be true. I thought I rode a good TT, I did the best I could. The power was good. I saved a little bit for the way home but Roglič is a super time triallist and on a course like this, I just can’t match him,” continued Yates.
“You can always look back and see places where you could have gained some seconds, but that’s always after the race. During the race you make decisions and you make choices and you have to live with them. I think we a rode super race. We took time were we could.”
The Tirreno-Adriatico race organisers excluded any high-mountain finishes in favour of mixed stages that produced smaller gaps in the general classification.
“Hopefully they’ll put some mountain stages in next year’s race or get ride of this time trial,” continued Yates. “Then I can perhaps win it.”
Yates will lead the team in the Tour de France. He took lessons from Tirreno-Adriatico and made note of Roglič for his twin bother Simon, who will face him in the Giro d’Italia.
“We’ve shown that we can ride as a team and control the race. We’ve had a week here, controlling the race, that’s all experience for races to come. A lot of the guys here will also do the Tour de France and so we’ve been bonding here and getting things right. It’ll all help further down the line,” said Yates.
“I exposed a bit of weakness in Roglič a couple of days ago and [Simon in the Giro] has to do the same and to just gain a bit more time before the TT.”