Yates was part of the 29-rider one-day breakaway and stayed with the main movement after Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Victorious) and Brent Van Moer (Lotto-Soudal) went clear. However, he was pulled from the chasing group on the crucial second-class Signal D’Uchon and that was the end of his breakaway challenge.Fourteenth at the finish, the Briton later declared that the stage had not gone well for several reasons. The escape itself had turned from what he expected it to be into a whole different beast as the scene unfolded. On top of that, he now expended too much energy ahead of two alpine stages this weekend which were better for him on paper.
“It wasn’t really a good step for me,” Yates said. ITV after. “The climb was too short and too explosive. I was looking forward to the next day and the next and now I am really tired.
“I feel like I’m trying to be there and have a presence for the team. But the scene turned into something completely different. So I just tried to do what I could but was a little short. “
Yates said he thought the move might have been doomed, with so many top runners in GC. But, on the other hand, “a lot of guys were involved and we had 30 guys there so there was a lot of momentum. We were going really fast, although I don’t know what was going on behind it, to be honest. I guess the UAE was trying to hunt. “
Speaking to a small group of reporters at the start of the stage, Yates said he didn’t have as many physical issues returning to racing after the Giro d’Italia as he handled the aspect mental of it all.
“I was going all-in for the Giro GC and I was fully focused for three weeks and now I have to save it three weeks later,” he said. “It’s the hardest thing for me. “
After moving from the Giro’s overall standings to stage wins in the Tour de France, Yates said it was impossible to predict whether the Alps would be more about the overall standings or the breakaways.
“I don’t know and it’s the hardest part to target the stages, not to know what the other teams have planned. Of the two stages, the one towards Tignes is the one that suits me because it is an uphill finish. We have to take more risks. in the descent of the day before and Sunday is also a more difficult stage. “
After winning third place overall at the Giro d’Italia and animating the third week of his attacks, Yates might see the Tour as the icing on a really big 2021 cake. But, after going through the first week without crash, he’s aiming for it to be more of a repeat of 2019.
“The whole plan is to replicate two years ago. Top 10 of the Giro, then two stages of the Tour. If I can catch one here it would be a hit. “
Regarding the GC battle as an outside observer, Yates says, “It’s a cliché but it’s up to Pogacar to lose now. He showed he had his legs in the TT over there, [winning] by a mile, so we’ll see. It’s going to be an interesting battle.
“It puts a lot of guys in a position where they have to try something and some of these guys don’t normally. They are used to being more conservative and staying on the wheels. So it’s going to be interesting from my point of view because I don’t have to run them. “