Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) briefly vented his anger and disappointment after losing Tirreno-Adriatico by a single second to Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) but soon began to see the positive aspects of his performance.
Last year Yates lost 36 seconds to Roglic in the same time trial. This year he was 26 seconds slower than the Slovenian, going ever so close to overall victory and a surprise win. He has worked hard and improved his time trailling ability, finishing 48th, 39 seconds slower than stage winner Victor Campenaerts (Lotto Soudal).
Including the hundredths of a second of the opening team time trial and the final 10km time trial, Yates lost Tirreno-Adriatico by 0.31 of a second.
"That's how it is. As I said, 25 seconds was not a comfortable margin and that proved to be true," Yates admitted, holding back his disappointment after the final podium ceremony alongside Roglic and third-placed Jakob Fuglsang (Astana).
"I thought I rode a good TT, I did the best I could. The power was good. I saved a little bit for the way home, but Roglic is a super time triallist, and on a course like this, I just can't match him."
Yates could have raced for time bonuses or fought to gain a few more seconds when he distanced Roglic, but hindsight doesn't win bike races.
"You can always look back and see places where you could have gained some seconds, but that's always after the race. During the race you make decisions and you make choices and you have to live with them," Yates argued.
"If the course had been a little more technical or had a little bit of climbing in it, I maybe wouldn't have lost as much time. This course doesn't suit me at all. I was always leaking time throughout the course.
"Hopefully, they'll put some mountain stages in next year's race or get rid of this time trial. Then I can perhaps win it."
Yates had described Tirreno-Adriatico as one of three goals for the spring but the one that suits him the least. He will now target the Volta a Catalunya and then the Itzulia Basque Country stage race before resting up and preparing for the Tour de France.
Defeat always hurts, but it also offers valuable lessons for the future.
"This result leaves a bad taste in your mouth, but we did the best we could. This time it wasn't good enough but there are plenty more races in the season. I've showed my condition is good," Yates pointed out.
"I think we rode a super race. We won the TTT and went close to two stage wins, why shouldn't we be happy? We've shown that we can ride as a team and control the race, that's all experience for races to come. A lot of the guys here will also do the Tour de France and so we've been bonding here and getting things right. It'll all help further down the line."
Adam Yates also helped his twin brother Simon, who will face Roglic in the Giro d'Italia.
"I exposed a bit of weakness in him a couple of days ago and he has to do the same," Adam suggested.
"He should just gain a bit more time before the TT…"
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