Through eight stages of the Tour de France, Mitchelton-Scott team leader Adam Yates has enjoyed a quiet race. While others have gone on the attack – or crashed – the British climber has hit upon a happy medium, with him and his team staying out of trouble during the nervous early stages of the race.
On the never-flat road to Saint-Étienne on Saturday, there were contrasting fortunes for Yates’ GC rivals as Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) attacked late on, along with Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep), to gain 20 seconds. Meanwhile, reigning Tour champion Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos) hit the deck at the base of the final climb, giving rise to a frantic chase but ultimately no time loss.
So while Yates made it through another tricky stage safely, was there not a temptation to pull the trigger on the two-kilometre, eight-per-cent Côte de Jaillere?
“No, no,” said team directeur sportif Matt White when asked about whether Yates might have gone with Pinot and Alaphilippe 13 kilometres from the line on stage 8.
“Those guys made a big effort, and Alaphilippe was chasing the yellow jersey. Every team has got their tactics and no, Adam was fine where he was.”
Earlier in the day, Yates had specifically named the two late attackers as riders who have impressed him so far during this Tour. His words look prescient after the events of Saturday, but show a man acutely aware of how his rivals are going.
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