Simon Yates remains in control at Tirreno-Adriatico 2020 as decisive stages loom

Yates dominated on the stage five summit finish and leads Majka going into the final two days

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Simon Yates stayed out of trouble on a very flat stage six of the 2020 Tirreno-Adriatico which was won by the Belgian champion, Tim Merlier, but faces a medium mountain stage and a final time trial in the remaining two days as he tries to seal the overall victory.

Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) took the overall lead on Friday's stage five on the climb to Sarnano-Sassotetto where the British climber won by 35 seconds ahead of compatriot Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) and Rafał Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe).

The Mitchelton-Scott rider leads the general classification by 16 seconds of Majka and 39 ahead of Thomas who sits in third.

Yates, talking after the stage, said: "Today was quite easy I think, there wasn't much fight for the breakaway and the sprint teams took it up straight away so was an easy day.

"I think tomorrow [stage seven] will be very hard, very difficult to control so we will try and defend as best we can."

Stage seven is a very lumpy stage that suits the likes of Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) and Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) among others with a 181km stage from Pieve Torina to a very hilly circuit around Loreto with an uphill kick to the line.

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The final stage is the classic 10.1km individual time trial in an out and back route around San Benedetto del Tronto.

Yates's brother, Adam, who is riding the Tour de France, lost the lead of the race by just one single second at last year's race thanks to the time trial where a certain Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) took the overall win.

This year, Simon will look to hold off former British time trial champion Thomas on the final time trial, with both riders building form ahead of respective tilts at the Giro d'Italia title in October.

"[I] can't say I've ever looked forward to a time trial before so probably not, but I'll give it a good crack." said Yates when asked about the upcoming final time trial.

Yates, who won the 2018 Vuelta a España, is at a similar time trialing level as Majka but he will be worried about the 2018 Tour de France winner, Thomas, who sits at 39 seconds.

Yates may look to isolate Thomas in the closing stages of stage seven to maybe gain a bit more time on his fellow Brit before the time trial.

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Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.