Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) took the leader's jersey at Tirreno-Adriatico just a few minutes after Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) won the time trial stage at Paris-Nice but played down any rivalry with his twin brother, happy to see their family name dominated the days racing.
Adam Yates finished fifth in the uphill finish to Pomerance, deep in the Tuscany countryside, as Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) won the stage ahead of (Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team). Yates took the blue leader's jersey after Mitchelton-Scott won Wednesday's team time trial stage and first race leader and teammate Michael Hepburn finished six minutes down.
"Fair plays to him. It's a good day for us," Adam said, happy to praise and tease his brother from a distance.
"For sure it's good when he wins. It must be his first ever time trial win. It must have been a pretty hard TT if he's won.
"Simon is perhaps improving quicker than me in time trials but I did put him away in the Ruta del Sol time trial."
Both Yates' like to win races and have developed rapidly since turning professional with Orica-GreenEdge in 2014. Simon won the 2018 Vuelta a Espana but Adam's palmares included fourth place and best young rider at the 2016 Tour de France. Adam will again target the French Grand Tour in 2019, while Simon returns to the Giro d'Italia after leading the race for two weeks in 2018.
The blue Tirreno-Adriatico jersey was apparently Adam Yates' first leader's jersey since he won the Tour of Turkey in his debut 2014 season.
"Every race I go to, I try my best. Sometimes it's good enough and sometimes not," Adam said, explaining the Yates' racing mentality.
"Last year we won a lot of races and we've won two stages at every race I've been to this season, so it's a good start to the season for all team. We can only hope to keep that ball rolling and I can hopefully win stages later in the week."
More stage victories than the overall classification
Yates is more focused on stage victories at Tirreno-Adriatico because he knows it will be difficult to gain enough time of major rivals like Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) and Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) before Tuesday's final 10km time trial.
"I said before that Tirreno-Adriatico is my first big goal but without a mountain stage, it makes it more difficult and with the time trial at the end, it's a pain the arse," he said.
"No matter how hard I go or try, I'll always lose a big chunk of time. I came here to win a stage, where I am in GC, is where I am. That's how it is."
Yates opted not to jump after Roglic, Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) and Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) when they went on the attack in the final kilometre, saving his effort for the uphill sprint. More of a climber, he lacked the big watts for the sprint to the line.
"It would be nice to win today but it wasn't a stage that suited me at all, stronger guys beat me at the line, that's it," he explained.
"I've done this finish a couple of times and knew that even if you get away at the end, it's quite difficult to hold them off because it's a big road and all peloton can see you. I decided to stay back and wait. I still had a teammate and we knew that we could close the gap, there were other teams there to do work, too."
Yates now leads new Mitchelton-Scott teammate Brent Bookwalter, who is on the same time. Roglic is third at seven seconds, with Dumoulin at 22 seconds. Alaphilippe pulled back ten seconds thanks to the stage winner's time bonus and is now 27 seconds down.
"The only time gaps have come from the TTT, while Alaphilippe gained some seconds today with bonuses. Tomorrow (Friday) is a sprint and then there are two hard stages to go and that's the only place we can perhaps gain time. They count for a lot but that's pretty much it… All we can do is take it stage by stage and see."
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