Simon Yates: 'Sky are going to rip some legs off today'

Tour de France best young rider Simon Yates says that he is expecting a battle during Friday's stage in the Pyrenees

Simon Yates at the 2017 Tour de France
(Image credit: Yuzuru Sunada)

The Tour de France’s white jersey wearer Simon Yates says that he is expecting Team Sky to adopt some very aggressive tactics on today’s short stage after Chris Froome lost the yellow jersey on Thursday.

Yates, who himself lost 11 seconds to new yellow jersey rider Fabio Aru (Astana) on Thursday's 214km marathon climbing stage in the Pyrenees, said: “Froome is still going pretty good he’s not fully blown up and lost minutes, he’s lost a few seconds.

“Sky are going to rip some legs off tomorrow I think.”

>>> Chris Froome loses yellow jersey to Fabio Aru as Romain Bardet wins Tour de France summit finish

The Orica-Scott rider said he wasn’t surprised by Sky’s tactics on the first stage in the Pyrenees which saw the team take up the reins of setting the pace early on and remain on the front until Aru’s attack in the final 400m.

Simon Yates on stage nine of the 2017 Tour de France. Photo: Yuzuru Sunada
(Image credit: Yuzuru Sunada)

Yates said the pace in the lead group had been “ferocious”.

“They have some strong guys and if I had a team that strong and legs like Froome I’d probably try and do the same thing. They like to ride from the front and nothing has changed,” he said.

When asked if the GC contenders had been waiting for the final 400m ramp that featured gradients of around 20 per cent, he said: “I wish I was waiting, maybe the other guys were waiting, I was hurting all the way up that climb there.”

Watch: Tour de France 2017 stage 12 highlights

Though Yates was the last of the GC favorites group to cross the line he said he was happy with the way he had ridden on the summit finish to Peyragudes.

“I was there with the best guys in the world with 300m to go, I had a small bit of cramp there in the final but I think that’s normal with such a long day in the saddle,” he said.

Yates’s principal rival for the white jersey, Louis Meintjes (UAE Team Emirates), took back some time on Thursday's stage and is now 2-38 behind the Brit.

>>> Tour de France 2017: Latest news, reports and info

“Its good to see that I can beat him but he’s still a class rider and it’ll take something special to go past him,” said South African Meintjes.

He added that he too was expecting an aggressive race on the 101km mountain jaunt to Foix today. “It’s going to be even harder,” he said.