Tinkoff sports director Sean Yates has rubbished conjecture that this year’s Tour de France was boring due to his former team Sky’s dominance that has all but delivered its leader Chris Froome to a career third title ahead of a procession to Paris today.
Yates was instrumental in Sky’s first Tour victory in 2012 with Bradley Wiggins so is familiar with the inner workings of the squad creating an ‘era’ with its four Tour de France victories in five years.
“It’s pretty much the same as every other year,” Yates said. “The Merckx years, Hinault years, Indurain years, everyone knew who was pretty much going to win and it just panned out that was the case. We’ve had a few upsets, not many.”
Over the past few years Sky has recruited and nurtured a barrage of climbers, including Wout Poels, Sergio Henao, Mikel Nieve and Mikel Landa. The quartet were instrumental to the team’s collective strength alongside other familiar faces including Geraint Thomas, who equalled a personal career best 15th overall.
“Success breeds success and when you’ve got the big leader and a strong team then things normally fall into place, unless you have an upset,” Yates said. “I wouldn’t say it’s any more boring than any other years and I wouldn’t say it’s particularly boring.
“When you compare it maybe to the Vuelta or the Giro it’s less exciting because nine times out of 10 there’s more of a battle for the finish because the teams are less strong, it’s not the biggest event.”
Tinkoff had designs on breaking Froome at the 103rd edition with the champion Spaniard Alberto Contador, whose Tour ended through crash-related injury on stage nine.
The team in its final year on the WorldTour celebrated a successful campaign despite the loss. World champion Peter Sagan, who claimed three stages, has all but won the green jersey for a fifth consecutive year with Rafal Majka poised take out the mountain classification.
“At the second rest day we were top of the earnings list so that means we were the most successful team. Obviously when the final GC is done and dusted, Sky will be the number one team and we will be second, which means we’ll be the second most successful. We’ve certainly been animating the race and all the race winning moves that go to the end,” Yates said.