The 2015 Tour de France may only be in its fourth day, but the Orica-GreenEdge’s Yates twins have already shown their potential. Despite a crash, Simon Yates closed the third stage to Mur de Huy in eighth spot.
Yates had to battle back after the crash 55 kilometres out. Adam led him over the penultimate climb and to the base of the steep Mur de Huy climb that ends the Flèche Wallonne each year.
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Joaquím Rodríguez (Katusha) won the stage, Sky’s Chris Froome took the yellow jersey and Simon placed eighth at 11 seconds back. The result came after sliding on his left side, injuring his knee, wrist and shoulder.
“It’s certainly nothing new, but this is at another level,” team Orica-GreenEDGE sports director, Matt White said of Simon Yates’ resilience.
“This is the Tour de France, isn’t it? Both of them are no frills guys, they get on with the job. The kid has some form, it’s very exciting for us. Hopefully over the net two days, we can get through scot-free.”
The team planned on working for Michael Albasini, but he was too hurt from the crash. Overnight, both Daryl Impey and Simon Gerrans abandoned. Orica’s other cyclists continued today.
“It was a hectic moment, when we did get to the guys, we had bike changes and helmet changes. Simon had really jarred his shoulder, landed on the back of his head, cracked his helmet,” White added.
“He had a bad knock with his shoulder and leg, he was holding his wrist.”
Yates was one of the last out of the bus this morning, after Adam who spent time checking his gears and tyres before the cobbled stage to Cambrai in northern France.
“It wasn’t a great day,” Simon told Cycling Weekly on Monday.
“It could’ve been better. Well, I was unhappy with the result, if you said I’d get eighth in a Tour stage, I’d be happy, but I just think that it could’ve been better without the crash. Then, I was a bit scared coming into the final, a bit bad positioning, stuff like this. If anything, I’ve taken the positive out of it because I know I have good legs and there are so many stages to come yet.”
The 22-year-olds have already raced Grand Tours in their career, Adam in the Vuelta a España and Simon in the Tour in 2014. This is the first time they are racing together in the Tour, with Adam making his debut.
Simon rolled his bike around the barriers blocking fans and journalists from the bus and began to edge towards the start line in Seraing, Belgium.
He has experience – he raced the cobbled stage last year and rode cobbled roads in Under-23 races – but expects to lose time. It does not matter, though, because he looks ahead to making the escapes in other days in the mountains of the Pyrenees and Alps.
“My experience from last year is paying off. I’m saving energy, just cruising at the back, staying out of trouble, it doesn’t matter if I lose 20 or five minutes,” Yates said.
“There’s a lot going on, there’s a lot of stress. It’s the same as last year, there’s a lot of crashes, a lot of stress.”
The stress should lighten somewhat after the cobbles today and after the first nine days. Afterwards, the Tour races over the Yates’ preferred ground – the mountains. White, based on what he has seen so far, is confident in the two.
“It’s a great sign for three-week tours, a great sign for any bike rider,” White said. “The ability to put crashes out of your mind, like yesterday with Simon finishing eight, and get on with it.”
Watch highlights of stage three of the Tour de France