Adam Yates 'had some kind of parasite' just before the Tour de France 2020

The British rider's first race since lockdown was the Critérium du Dauphiné, just a couple of weeks before the Tour de France

(Image credit: AFP via Getty Images)

Adam Yates started the Tour de France in good form with a third place finish on stage two and taking the yellow jersey two days later.

Yates came into the Tour with very little racing in the legs after only racing the Critérium du Dauphiné before the French Grand Tour, with his team revealing that he'd also suffered from a mystery illness a few weeks before the Tour.

"He had some kind of parasite - there was a lot of vomiting - we think from fountain water he drank." said his team according to BBC Sport.

"It knocked him for six - he had 10 days completely off the bike, then two or three weeks when he was certainly on restricted training. And that was right at the time when we are going hard on the training."

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This makes his ride in the first week of the Tour even more impressive after taking the race lead from Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck - Quick-Step), who was penalised for taking a bottle inside the last 20km of stage five.

Yates looked in superb form on stage two when he attacked across to Alaphilippe, who went on to take the stage win, and Marc Hirschi (Team Sunweb).

The race was then rather simple to control for Yates' team in the days after him unexpectedly going into yellow.

On the first day of the Pyrenees the other riders going for the general classification peppered the last climb with attacks but every time they came back together Yates managed to get back on.

While he couldn't follow any moves of the big favourites, he rode up the climb at his own pace and finished with them and kept yellow.

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Stage nine saw Yates crack and slip out of yellow and dropped to eighth overall at just over a minute down on the new leader, Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma).

The British climber will likely now target stages in the coming mountain stages that pepper the end of week two and the final week of the race as he looks to improve his condition as he races on.

“I did everything I could. I said from the very beginning, even before the Tour started, that I wasn’t at 100 per cent,” Yates said after the finish of stage nine. “And I think we did well. We hung on for as long as we could. And yeah, there are a couple of guys going better than me. So I did the best I could and I think we can be proud.

“It’s a big honour riding in yellow,” he added. “It was good fun while it lasted.”

Tim Bonville-Ginn
Tim Bonville-Ginn

Tim Bonville-Ginn is 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.


Bonville-Ginn started working in cycling journalism while still at school and university for a voluntary site based on Twitter before also doing slots for Eurosport's online web team and has been on location at the Tour de Yorkshire, Tour of Britain, UCI World Championships and various track events. He then joined the Cycling Weekly team in late February of 2020.


When not writing stories for the site, Bonville-Ginn doesn't really switch off his cycling side as he watches every race that is televised as well as being a rider himself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager.


He rides a Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on his local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being his preferred terrain.