Adam Yates has vowed to “go on the offensive” after he lost time on stage two of the Tour of the Basque Country.
The Mitchelton-Scott rider suffered a puncture in the final 20km and was forced to chase with a large group, as the peloton stormed up the final climb in Gorraiz.
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But despite his best efforts on the final ramp, Yates lost 1-10 to stage winner Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step).
The puncture put the Brit out of contention for the overall, but he said the team will be waiting for their opportunity to attack.
Yates said: “I couldn’t have punctured at a worse moment.
“We rode well as a team all day, stayed in good position and out of trouble on the gravel sections but unfortunately all that can disappear when you have some bad luck.
“It’s a pretty frustrating situation but as a team we’re in good shape and motivated to do something
“We just have to wait for an opportunity to present itself and then we will be going on the offensive.”
Yates has been strong in the early season but has narrowly missed out on two stage race victories, finishing second overall in both Tirreno-Adriatico and the Volta a Catalunya.
Despite missing out on a first big stage race win of his career, the 26-year-old has taken two mountain victories as he looks to the Tour de France.
Mitchelton-Scott’s best-placed rider is Spaniard Mikel Nieve, who sits 25th overall at 1-05 down on race leader Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hanshrohe).
Sports director Julian Dean said: “It was literally the worst possible moment of the race to puncture as it was so close to the finish and the last pavè section, so it was hard to get a quick change and to get back in the race was always going to be an enormous challenge.
“We aren’t going to discount our goals of finishing on the podium, there’s still hard stages left so Mikel is probably our option now, but Adam is certainly not out of the race and stage wins are still an objective.”