Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott) moved into the yellow jersey at the Critérium du Dauphiné on Tuesday after a third place in the bunch sprint on stage 2 secured him a four-second time bonus to move ahead of Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) into the yellow jersey.
Impey admitted that the stage wasn't a target for the team, with an important team time trial coming on stage 3 and a plan to focus all of the team's energy on Adam Yates' general classification challenge. But the South African was beaming post-stage after securing the yellow jersey.
"It's pretty big to get myself a yellow jersey, it would've been nice to get the stage but we were up against it.
"We knew there were fast guys here in the finishing bunch but there were also the bonus seconds on the line and in the back of my mind, I knew if I did well in the sprint I could take the yellow jersey. I haven't worn a yellow jersey here since 2013 [at the Tour de France - ed.], so it's fantastic."
Mitchelton-Scott arrived at the Critérium du Dauphiné with a young but capable squad to support Adam Yates as part of his key preparations for the Tour de France and Impey knows that a strong GC performance from Yates is the team's focus for the race, and the stage 3 team time trial is a key part of that. "We've got quite a young squad here but we have a good squad," he said.
"Collectively we can ride well as a unit and we are one of the stronger team time triallists here. The objective is to obviously not lose any time but if we can keep the yellow jersey that would be fantastic. It would also mean we put Adam Yates in a great spot leading into the mountains."
Julian Dean, Mitchelton-Scott's directeur sportif for the race, reinforced the focus on GC at the finish line in Belleville, admitting they weren't targeting stage 2 or the yellow jersey for Impey, "We were going to just sit back and take it easy, we've got an important day tomorrow and we've got Adam on the GC so we're probably thinking more about that. We were just going to play our cards in the final and see what happens."
After Simon Yates' successful Giro d'Italia last month and Adam Yates looking to better his 2016 fourth place finish at the Tour de France in July, the question was put to Impey at the post-stage press conference of who is the better rider? "I can't answer that question because I don't think even they know the difference.
"They're both hungry to win and they're both world-class bike riders. It's pretty tough to put one up against another, I don't think anyone in cycling knows who is better than the other. When one wins the other seems to win, which is good for our team but they're very equal."
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