Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) ended the Tour de France stage 16 to Bagnères-de-Luchon in third place and “devastated” after a crash spoiled what could have been a solo ride to victory
Yates fell on the Col du Portillon descent with 6.5km to race and dusted himself off to still manage third behind winner Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors).
“I’ve just got bad morale,” the Englishman said at the team bus after cleaning his wounds. “When you come so close to winning a stage of the Tour, it’s pretty devastating not just for me but for the team.
“We’ve been working for a while on trying to do something and when you come that close it’s disappointing.”
He attacked and topped the climb with 18 to 20 seconds over Alaphilippe and a few more seconds over the rest of the reduced breakaway.
“You pick your moment and I picked that one,” he said of his attack. “I could tell that everyone was hurting a little bit. I went when I wanted to and that’s about it.”
However on the 10km descent to the spa town, things fell apart.
“It’s just one of those things. I’ve taken more risks on more technical descents and never had any problems. We don’t recon all the stages and sometimes you don’t know what’s coming up on some of these corners. It was a bit damp and I came down,” Yates explained.
“[Alaphilippe is] pretty good. I raced him back as an under 23 and I know how good he is. I had a healthy lead and if I’m honest, I’m pretty good on the descents as well.
“It’s one of those things. If you mess up one of those corners you go down.”
“He’s obviously devastated, a very big chance of winning at Tour de France stage is gone,” sports director Matt White added. “He’s a very hard man, and this race is far from finished.
“Hopefully, he hasn’t hurt himself too much, he lost skin for sure, hopefully it’s superficial. He’s going to be stiff tomorrow. There are two more mountains to come and we’re not giving up.”
Adam placed fourth overall in 2016 and won the young riders’ competition. He returned this year to have a shot at the overall, but lost ground in the Alps and changed his focus to chasing a stage win. He now sits 27th overall with five stages to go.
“It’s disappointing, really so for Adam, and for the team as well. After the GC went, we were chasing stages, and that was a great opportunity,” White continued.
“Hopefully, he’s not hurt. We are disappointed, but we have to move on. we can’t let things get to us. It’s a hard time for the team and Adam, who showed he prepared well for this race and that he was ready to win a stage.”