After finishing third behind Primož Roglič on the Col de Turini, Simon Yates was pretty sanguine about his day out in the Alpes at Paris-Nice, where he finished third behind the Slovenian and Dani Martínez.
"There's not much you can do when he is in second gear," the British BikeExchange-Jayco rider said after crossing the finish line.
"He's not even breathing and everyone else is panting," Yates told reporters, as Roglič parried off repeated attacks on the day's final climb to power to the win in snowy conditions. The Slovenian has proved on multiple occasions that he is the man to beat in uphill sprints.
Roglič's victory on the week's queen stage puts him in control of the general classification ahead of Sunday's final stage; Yates sits 47 seconds behind him.
He said that he put some "cheeky moves in" to try and upset the rhythm of his competitors, but it appears that there is little to be done when Roglič is in the mood to win.
Despite tomorrow's challenging parcours, Yates has already all but given up hopes of winning the yellow jersey in Nice tomorrow.
"I really like tomorrow, it's always a nice race...we will see what we can do, but it's pretty much done already...I don't see myself attacking Roglič tomorrow."
He described himself as 9/10 ahead of the day, and post-stage Yates said: "I feel ok, but nothing special. It could have been better, it could have been worse."
Yates is trailed by Martínez of Ineos Grenadiers by 13 seconds, and was beaten by the Colombian for second place on Saturday. "Martínez was really good so I expect him to make a move," he said, adding that he might have to ride defensively to hold onto his second position on the podium.
It was Yates' twin brother, Adam, who set the final attacks in motion as he powered off the front with 7km to go, but was then caught by Roglič, Martínez, and Arkéa-Samsic's Nairo Quintana. Simon Yates then caught up to this group and made the final selection; he described it as "mano a mano" as soon as his twin brother attacked.
There is still a lot of love between the pair of Yates', however, as they cycled down the mountain together, returning to their team buses.
One winner of the day was João Almeida, who moved into the white jersey lead, coming in over the line in fifth. Matteo Jorgenson, the classification's previous leader, lost 7:30 on the climb, while Almeida lost just 11 seconds.
Describing it as a "hard day", UAE Team Emirates' Portuguese rider said that he still felt fresh. "I managed my effort, and I am happy with my performance. I didn't start the stage race good, so getting that [the white jersey] is good."
Despite the snow-bound top of the Col de Turini, Almeida said: "I've been in worse situations", no doubt including some of the tough stages at the 2020 Giro d'Italia, during which he wore the pink jersey.
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