The British rider put in a decent ride in the opening day prologue – not his speciality – to finish ahead of fellow yellow jersey hopefuls Romain Bardet and Vincenzo Nibali. He then came home safely in the reduced peloton after a chaotic finale to the opening road stage on Monday.
“I’m happy with that,” Yates said of his ride on Sunday. “Prologues are never nice, no matter how short they are. They’re always tough. It’s going to be a tough week, there are a few mountaintop finishes towards the end of the week so we’ll see what we can do.”
Yates enjoyed a strong first half of the season, finishing fourth at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana and fifth at Tirreno-Adriatico, where he also claimed a stage win. He suffered a setback in the form of a fractured pelvis at the Volta a Catalunya, but bounced back strongly last month to finish fourth at the Tour of California.
While Yates has had a slightly different road to the Dauphiné than the standard post-Liège-Bastogne-Liège break and altitude camp, he struck a similar tone to other Tour de France contenders in suggesting it’s too early to be on the top of your game this week.
“I’m at about 85 per cent,” he said. “I came off California pretty good – I wasn’t 100 per cent there – and had a couple of weeks to recover from that. There are still four weeks until the Tour. That’s my main objective for the season, so I’ll keep it up towards that.
“If you’re in top condition now, it’s pretty hard to hold it all the way to the Tour. There are still four weeks until the Tour starts, and five weeks until the real mountains. If you’re peaking now it could be pretty hard to hold your form all the way to the Tour. But I’m getting there, it’s coming along nicely, no real setbacks so far.”
Yates has already shone at the Tour de France, finishing fourth and winning the white jersey for best young rider in 2016, yet extra attention is likely to accompany him following the exploits of his twin brother Simon at last months’ Giro d’Italia.
Simon Yates won three stages and spent 13 days in the pink leader’s jersey before cracking in the mountains just two days shy of the finish in Rome.
“He did well, didn’t he?” said Adam. “Three stages in the leader’s jersey, and yeah, he was obviously disappointed to lose it, but that’s how it goes. It was the first time for him doing the Giro and first time in a Grand Tour leader’s jersey, so it would have been great if he’d hung on but that’s how it goes. There are more Giros and more Grand Tours to come.”
The Yates twins have matched each other pretty much stride for stride in their young careers so far, almost taking it in turns to make the next step forward.
“We both work hard and we’re similar riders so when we’re doing similar training we’re going to progress quite similarly. There’s no friendly rivalry really, we just try and do the best we can,” he said.
“It’s not just Simon but the whole team [to take inspiration from]. We won five stages at the Giro. It shows when everyone is committed 100 per cent it just shows what we can do, so we’ll try and do the same here.”
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