Jeremy Yates has praised Hayden Roulston for stopping to wait after the Tour of Southland leader was knocked off his bike by an official motorbike in the closing kilometres of today’s sixth stage. Yates admitted to being disappointed with George Bennett (Team SVS) for attacking after the incident, but sought his own revenge by chasing the rider down and winning the day’s stage.
Unlike Roulston, Bennett was no threat to Yates’ race lead and was instead searching for a stage victory against his big-named rivals in the break.
“I was midway through the attack, I moved out to the right-hand side and the commissaries motorbike came past and tipped me off,” said Yates. “Fortunately Hayden Roulston, who was on the front at the time, waited for me which was one of the unwritten rules of bike racing – it was a classy decision by him.
“There’s no written rule to say you have to but I was really disappointed to see George Bennett making the most of it and attacking before the finish,” he added. “Luckily I had a shitload of adrenalin and I was able to peg him back and take the win.”
Bennett was unremorseful for his move inside the final kilometre of the day’s stage. The topic of waiting for a race leader came under the spotlight at this year’s Tour de France when eventual winner Alberto Contador seemingly launched an attack as then race leader Andy Schleck dropped his chain.
“No regrets … bike racing’s bike racing,” he said. “I’m not in the hunt for the yellow jersey … I’m here to win stages. Sure, you wait for the yellow jersey if you’re a general classification contender, but if you’re 15 minutes down it’s your own race.”
Roulston, who crossed in third just five seconds behind Yates, believed inexperience played a role. “You just don’t do stuff like that you know. For one, it’s the yellow jersey, and two, he’s (Yates) a very well-respected rider – it’s just not etiquette,” said Roulston.
“George Bennett, he’s a super talent this guy and he just took off – but each to their own and what goes around comes around,” added Roulston.
Bennett finished the stage two seconds down on Yates, while Roulston was a further three seconds back in third. His stage victory saw Yates extend his overall lead to 24 seconds over New Zealand Road Champion Jack Bauer, while Roulston is a further seven seconds behind in third place.