British rider Adam Yates (Orica-BikeExchange), only 23-years-old, threw his weight around with the big grand tour stars today in the Tour de France‘s stage to Arcalís, in Andorra. With an attack, he joined a group with race leader Chris Froome (Sky) and led it home through a rainstorm.
Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) won from an escape at 6-35 minutes ahead. Yates cemented his second place overall at 16 seconds behind Froome and his place as leader of the young rider classification going into the first rest day tomorrow.
“I’d like to win a stage, but as long as I have options on GC, I’ll follow that goal,” Yates said in a fresh, and dry, white jersey.
“It’s not too bad for a second go at the Tour de France, but still I’m not 100 per cent riding GC. I’m not too bad where I am and yeah, we have the rest day tomorrow, so I’ll rest up and see how the legs come out after.”
The Englishman is only riding his second Tour de France compared to the more experienced riders around him. Froome won the Tour twice already and Colombian Nairo Quintana (Movistar), in his first two participations, placed second.
Instead of making headlines by crashing into a falling one-kilometre-to-go arch like on Friday, Yates did so by piling time on his rivals. He took command of the lead group as rain and hail hammered down on the course. Froome and Quintana followed him to the line, with Richie Porte (BMC Racing) and Daniel Martin (Etixx–Quick-Step) – both attacking often – right behind.
His elite group left behind stars Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale), Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) and Fabio Aru (Astana). Froome took note that Quintana held his attacks, but also that Yates remained to threaten his yellow jersey.
“I’m still going for stages, I came to the race for stages,” Yates said. “I am doing good on GC, but it’s a background objective. There are still two time trials. It’s well known that I’m not good at them. One of them is a mountain time trial, where I won’t lose as much time, but still, to get on the podium in the Tour you have to be good at riding a time trial.”
Yates will have to think about his plans on Monday when the teams rest in Andorra. He holds the prestigious white jersey by 39 seconds over Louis Meintjes (Lampre-Merida) and 2-35 over Warren Barguil (Giant-Alpecin). If he wants to keep the jersey, he will have to ride for the overall and essentially protect his second place, battling just as he did today up Arcalís.