Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEdge) moved closer to the podium after a strong performance on Mt Diablo on stage 4 of the Tour of California. He hung onto the strong pace set by his compatriot Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky), before launching an explosive attack near the top.
Yates quickly distanced the peloton and looked like he could be on for a repeat of his Tour of Turkey stage victory. However, he hadn’t counted on the gradient increasing and was eventually caught by stage winner Rohan Dennis (Garmin-Sharp) who attacked on the steepest section of the climb. Yates dug in and eventually finished fourth to move himself up into fifth in the general classification, but had hoped for much more from the stage.
“The plan today was to ride for Adam and Esteban. The rest of the guys were to look after them until the last climb. It all went pretty smoothly. There’s really not much you can say about today’s finish other than the strongest guy wins,” said Orica-GreenEdge directeur sportif Matt Wilson.
“Adam had a good crack with 500 metres to go. Just as Adam came around the final corner with 200 metres to go, he hit the steepest part of the climb. That’s where Rohan made his move. He’s a bit disappointed because he felt he had a good chance to win today. He misjudged the finish, but he’s determined to make it right on the next hilltop finish.”
Yates arrived at the Tour of California off the back of a strong performance at the Tour of Turkey, which saw him take a stage win and the overall classification. Adam is often overshadowed by his twin brother Simon, but his aggressive riding showed him to be a talent in his own right. Yates is still in contention for the podium, but it is a tough ask and, for now, the team aren’t putting pressure on him in the general classification.
“GC is not a priority,” said Wilson. “We are only looking at stages now as Adam is still 50” from moving into fourth. There’s a chance to get some time back on the next summit finish, but we’ll have to see how it goes.”
The next summit finish will be stage 6 to Mountain High on Friday.