Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) just “couldn’t follow” his 2019 Giro d’Italia rivals on the first summit finish at Lago Serrù. He lost 2-03 minutes, but the team is not trying to make excuses.
After finishing stage 13 above 2,200 meters, the race still has eight stages to cover. Yates slipped behind early, moving to 5-49 minutes behind top favourite Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma).
“It’s not lost yet, but it’s not ideal,” sports director Matt White said.
“He was really struggling in the last kilometres to the line. It’s not the situation that we planned on being in, but it is what it is, so we will change our tactics accordingly. We are not here to make excuses.
“[Yates] couldn’t follow those guys in the last couple kilometres.”
The sun shined on the stage, but the mood was not good in the Mitchelton-Scott camp. The 26-year-old Briton would not speak immediately after the stage about the day. He cleaned off and then rode to anti-doping, where he sat as workers tore down the stage furnishings.
“He really suffered the last couple of kilometres, it went from very good to struggling in a very short period time,” explained White.
“I was speaking to him with 20km to go, and he said he was fine, and things turned upside down on us very quickly.”
Yates, who also suffered in the time trial on Sunday, drifted behind with 14km to climb in the 20km ascent. He never returned, and slid behind pink jersey Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates), who had been dropped earlier.
It was a surprise given Yates raced so well in 2018, winning three stages and leading for 13 days and winning the Vuelta a España overall.
“I will talk to him once we get back to the hotel,” added White. “It sure went from being very good to not so good in a very short period of time.”
Yates also lost around three minutes on the time trial to San Marino.
“I am not sure if it’s the same problem as the TT, two very different efforts — 11C, 25 minutes in rain, today high altitude — we’ll discuss it tonight,” White said.
“We’ll talk to the guys tonight and go from there. We have a strong team here, but our leaders have struggled a bit up to now, but it’s a long race to go. There are always surprises in the Giro.”