Mitchelton-Scott brush themselves down after crashes to target team time trial

Bauer: It's just the nature of bike racing. People crash, gaps open up

Two stages in at the 2018 Tour de France, and Mitchelton-Scott's team leader Adam Yates has been on the asphalt twice in consecutive days, compounded further by two further crashes on the second stage for Luke Durbridge and Daryl Impey.

Three years ago, however, the situation was far worse, with five of the then nine-man team taken out in a single crash on the way to Huy, resulting in Simon Gerrans abandoning with a broken wrist and Daryl Impey going home after fracturing his collarbone.

Knowing the situation could be far worse, the team's spirits remained high at the stage finish in La Roche-sur-Yon, choosing to focus on the opportunity to regain time in the team time trial rather than focusing on the stressful opening two days.

"Adam's fine," directeur sportif Matt White told a huddle of journalists at the team bus after the stage. "I don't know what happened. There was maybe a small touching of wheels. We also lost Luke Durbridge and Daryl Impey in the final today. It hasn't been the smoothest of runs again today, but they're all OK. They'll be fine for tomorrow.

"We'll just carry on with the process and make our plan for tomorrow. As far as medical goes, we've got a very competent medical team here who handle that, and I can just look forward to tomorrow. It's going to be a big day for us. We need to make up some time."

Adam Yates' crash on stage 1 cost the Briton 51 seconds on some of his general classification rivals – a time gap unlikely to be completely closed with a strong team time trial tomorrow, but a time gap that can certainly be narrowed.

Following stage two, Mitchelton-Scott lay bottom of the overall team classification and therefore begin the team time trial in Cholet first off the start ramp.

"We know where we're starting tomorrow, and we're not going to have any time checks," White added. "Look, we've won team time trials without time checks before, and I'm not a big fan of them anyway. It's not like we can go any faster if we know we're down or up, and we know Team Sky are right behind us anyway, so we're not going to wait in the hot seat too long, are we?

"It's the team's job, for sure [to turn around the time deficit]. It's not Adam's job to turn it around tomorrow – his turn is in the Alps. Tomorrow's the day to make up some time.

"Adam's fine. People are trying to dramatise the situation a little bit. He's fine – it's a little crash, a couple of Band-Aids and Savlon, and he'll be fine."

While Yates seemed to dodge any serious injury, Daryl Impey's late crash resulted in a contusion to the left scapula, according to the stage medical communique. A picture posted to Twitter in the evening after the stage by the South African road race champion showed a bandaged head but a confirmation of starting tomorrow.

Luke Durbridge also crashed in the closing stages of the race after a rider turned into Durbridge's front wheel on a straight section of road, causing Durbridge to crash hard but avoid anything more serious, with following riders managing to weave past the 1.87m tall rider.

The Australian rolled up to the team bus 6:18 down on stage winner Peter Sagan with both knees heavily bloodied, but seemed content that the injuries were not more serious.

"I'm not so great, but those finishes are pretty sketchy anyway, so you're just trying to move up, trying to do your job, and then someone decides to turn left, and that was into my front wheel," said Durbridge.

"I know what it's like when you break a bone, so I should be just fine. I'm just lucky I didn't have the whole peloton pile into me. I went down and held my head, and it could have been a lot worse, so we're all good and I don't think anyone lost any time, did they?" said Durbridge, getting confirmation from the team's communications officer that Yates hadn't lost any more time.

"So, we're all good – sweet. I definitely think it's early days, and at the moment we have to take it day by day. Tomorrow suits us [the team time trial], and we're all healthy, so we've got to rip it up. Hopefully it'll be one of the highs of our Tour tomorrow."

Teammate Jack Bauer was close to Adam Yates during his crash, and helped lead the Mitchelton-Scott leader back into the peloton following a bike change. Showing calm and assessing the situation before the high-speed chase through the team cars, the 33-year-old New Zealander was equally as measured at the finish line.

"It was a long way from the line, but the pace wasn't on," said Bauer. "I think the main thing was making sure all Adam's limbs were intact and the bike was in one piece before you stick him back on and make him chase at 70kph.

"You can say it's luck, you can say it's a flat first half in the Tour de France. We saw it a couple of years ago when it started in Utrecht. It's just the nature of the race, I think.

"I wouldn't say it's bad luck – it's just the nature of bike racing," Bauer continued. "People crash, gaps open up. We'll do what we can tomorrow [Monday] in the TTT, and try to close that gap a little bit on the fellas in front on GC.

"We changed bikes and we set off, and Adam looked fine. He's a tough bastard. There were no issues, really. But with buckled wheels, offset brakes, twisted handlebars and saddle back to front, so we thought it was best to change to a spare bike.

"I tried to a little bit of side-of-the-road bike mechanics, but like I said before, it's safer to wait for the spare bike than jump on a bike in a state like that."

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