Adam Yates and his Mitchelton-Scott team-mates recovered some of the time losses they suffered on the opening stage crash with a strong performance on the Tour de France stage three team time trial, finishing fourth on the day, nine seconds behind stage winners BMC.
Sports director Matt White was happy but expected the Australian outfit to be mixing it with the stage contenders.
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“It’s what we expected, we knew we’d be around the favourites and it’s even more pleasing considering the circumstances with a couple of banged up boys in there because obviously its not ideal crashing the night before the team time trial,” White said. “But they delivered, they weren’t on their best but they certainly delivered.”
The race day conditions out of the course were quite different to the still day that the team reconnoitred the course on Wednesday, whereas the gusty conditions made the course lightning fast at times.
“We did a lap at 12 o’clock today, so we knew the conditions and they weren’t changing any time soon,” White added.
“It just made it faster times, it was a big loop so it was whirlwind conditions but a big part of the first half of the course was a tail/tailcross wind.”
White spoke to Cycling Weekly before the Tour de France started and claimed that he believed some GC contender teams could lose two to three minutes over the 33.5 kilometre course.
It may not have quite been two to three minutes, with Dan Martin the biggest loser coming in 1-39 down on BMC’s winning time.
But the team made significant gains on a number of Yates’ rivals despite White speaking to Cycling Weekly at the team bus before before a number of other results had been confirmed, partly due to the front-loaded team time trial field.
“I’ll be interested to see what time we can take on Bardet and Roglic as I still rate him as an outsider [both AG2R and LottoNL-Jumbo would finish 1-06 down on Mitchelton-Scott’s time],” White added.
“I also want to see how much time we take on Nibali [Bahrain-Merida finished 57 seconds behind Michelton-Scott] We took 45 seconds back on Movistar so we are back in line with Valverde and Landa which is a good place to be. We’ll see the final wash up but regardless we’ve had a good day.”