Simon Yates (Orica-Scott) has called Fabio Aru's controversial attack on stage 9 of the Tour de France a 'dirty move' and claimed that it's 'absolute bullshit' that the Italian rider did not see that Chris Froome (Team Sky) had a mechanical just seconds before the Astana rider accelerated on the Mont du Chat.
"I think it's a dirty move. I don't like what he did but it's a bike race and he can do what he wants," Yates said after a dramatic day's race at the Tour.
"I'm not going to have any grudges but maybe some of the other guys will. I don't really know what to say. From what I saw it wasn't the correct thing to do."
When told that Aru had claimed not to have seen Froome's call for mechanical assistance, Yates provided a short but definitive response: "[That's] Absolute bullshit."
"I can't find the words. It's not something that you do. We should have respect for each other. Chris had a problem there, he wasn't getting dropped and there was still a long way to go in the stage."
Aru's attack split the group of GC contenders, but he was eventually caught and the yellow jersey group appeared to slow in order for Team Sky to pace Froome back into contention. Race hostilities were restarted once the Team Sky rider made contact, and Yates was forced on the defensive under the relentless pressure from his rivals.
Rigoberto Uran won the stage, with Yates finishing 11th in a group 1:15 down on the winner. The result dropped Yates down one place into seventh overall, 2:02 off Froome's lead.
Yates' goals coming into the Tour were to finish in the top 10 and claim the white jersey. The latter cause looks on track too after the Orica rider put more time into his rivals. Louis Meintjes (UAE Team Emirates), Pierre Latour (AG2R) and Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) all lost time to Yates, and Meintjes is now his closest challenger at 2:58.
"It was another level today. I'm pretty tired and I gave it everything," Yates said.
He was dropped on the final stages of the Mont du Chat but made it into an elite group containing George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo), Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Daniel Martin (Quick-Step Floors).
"I almost got dropped from my group, but I'm happy with my ride. I gave everything that I had. I'm looking forward to the rest day because I'm absolutely fucked. Sorry. I don't know another word to describe it."