A late crash on stage 2 of Tirreno-Adriatico all but ended Adam Yates' hopes of a podium finish. The British climber for Mitchelton-Scott was caught up in a crash inside the final seven kilometres, and although he initially missed the first incident, a rider ploughed into the back of him and caused Yates to fall.
He eventually crossed the line 1:13 down on stage winner Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) and a group of GC favourites. The disappointing result was compounded by the fact that Mitchelton-Scott sprinter Caleb Ewan faded to 11th in the bunch sprint.
After finishing a well-deserved second to BMC Racing in the opening team time trial, Mitchelton-Scott's race has now been turned on its head, and with the GC now shut off, their focus will switch to stage wins. Yates currently sits 1:17 off the race lead.
"I don't know how much time he lost, but I think it was a lot," team director Matt White told Cyclingnews after the stage.
"He wasn't at the back of the bunch, but I've not seen the result. Someone clipped the wheel and they've caused a massive crash. Yates didn't come down at first but he was hit from behind. He stopped behind the main fall, and then someone came into him from behind and hit him at speed. That took him down.
"He's been hit by a rider, so he's a little ginger at the moment. We had to get a wheel off Luke Durbridge for him. The wheel was buckled and Adam never made it back. I don't know if he's 40 seconds off or a minute off, but GC is probably finished," White added.
Yates came into Tirreno-Adriatico with high hopes of a strong GC challenge. He finished fourth in Valencia earlier in the year and is set to target the Tour de France in July. His focus at Tirreno-Adriatico will now turn to stage wins, and given his one-day pedigree he could feature on stage 3, depending on the extent of his injuries.
"To get a podium here, I think those chances have gone out the window," White told Cyclingnews. "We'll just have to switch to stages, which is a shame because we rode a super team time trial on stage 1. Adam was in great shape, but in cycling things can change so quickly."
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