Adam Yates – who fell to third overall but strengthened his Tour de France general classification position today in Provence – says that he is fighting to maintain his position instead of going for stage wins as originally stated.
The 23-year-old Brit with team Orica-BikeExchange has been the revelation of this year’s Tour. He nearly took the yellow jersey on two occasions in the first 12 stages and sat only 28 seconds behind Froome this morning before the 37.5-kilometre time trial to La Caverne Du Pont-d’Arc.
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Yates caught his breath metres after crossing the finish line in the white jersey of best young rider. After the silent podium as a mark of respect for the Nice attack victims, he met with the press.
“I did lose a bit of time today,” Yates said. “The position we are in now, we just have to keep fighting. We have one week go to and in every stage, where there’s an opportunity, I’ll just try to take some seconds back. Hopefully everything goes OK.”
Yates placed 18th at 3-01 minutes behind winner Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin), 1-58 behind Froome and 1-07 behind Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), now in third overall. However, he rode seven seconds into top favourite Nairo Quintana (Movistar), twice second overall in the Tour behind Froome.
Yates began his second Tour saying that he would fight for stage wins and that maintaining his time in the classification would not be important. He held to that through the first week, but now indicates that the podium race is more important.
Froome solidified his lead and moved to 1-47 minutes ahead of Mollema and 2-45 minutes ahead of Yates. Yates has 14 seconds on Quintana and 32 on Quintana’s Movistar team-mate Alejandro Valverde. He also has a strong grip on the white jersey, leading by 3-03 over Louis Meintjes (Lampre-Merida).
“Anything can happen, we have a week to go. You can have a bad day and lose minutes,” Yates added. “If it works it works, if not, no pressure or stress. Every day we are learning.”
The Australian WorldTour team wants to re-sign Yates and take him, and twin brother Simon, to win grand tours in the coming years. Yates made a big step forward to that dream given the above average time trial he rode today on the lumpy and windy parcours.
“Everyone knows I’m not great at time trialling, I lost some time, but considering how small I am and how good I am at time trialling, I’m happy,” Yates added.
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“It was probably one of the longest TTs I’ve done. On the climbing sections, I felt strong. I felt I had the power. It was just the cross-wind seconds and the flat with the windy roads that I suffered quite a lot.
“It’s hard to say, I guess it’s a new experience for me. I’m learning and learning every day. I’ve never been in this position before.”
Yates’s bother Simon is racing the Tour of Poland after forced to sit out the Tour due to a ban for taking an asthma medication without permission. Yates said that almost every night he checks in with Simon, who encourages Adam to push his rivals like Froome harder.