Mitchelton-Scott's Tour de France hope, Adam Yates, kept pace with the main contenders on stage 2 of the Critérium du Dauphiné on Monday, while teammate Jack Haig was able to infiltrate the day's main breakaway.
Yates – who will lead the Australian WorldTour team at the Tour next month – was able to stay with the GC contenders on the final climb of the Côte-de-Saint-Victor-sur-Arlanc. Although the group couldn't catch the day's winner Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-Merida) and breakaway companion Guillaume Martin (Wanty-Gobert), Yates finished in the company of Chris Froome (Team Ineos), Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Groupama-FDJ's Thibaut Pinot to take 10th place on the stage and is also now 10th overall, 24 seconds behind current race leader Teuns.
Haig, meanwhile – returning from a knee injury – was able to take the pressure off his teammates by featuring in the day's main breakaway, alongside such big names as Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb), Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and Astana's Gorka Izagirre.
However, the presence of such danger men meant that the 13-rider group was never going to be allowed to succeed, and the race came back together with 35km to go of the 180km stage from Mauriac to Craponne-sur-Arzon.
"'Haigy' managed to get into the break, which was the perfect situation for us with such a strong group going away," Yates said via his team's website. "Ultimately, the peloton didn't give them much room with such big names up there, but if it had stayed away, it could have been a nice opportunity for Haigy to try for the win.
"It was a good day in general, but it was another tricky day, especially with the rain and technical roads. But the guys looked after me perfectly and set me up for that final steep climb," he continued.
"As always, it's hard to know how well you're actually going after a big break from racing, but so far, so good, and hopefully I can get better as the race continues," Yates said.
Twenty-five-year-old Australian climber Haig was pleased to be able to test himself – and his knee – during the stage.
"It was good to get back into racing today, and to get into the break and make a hard race," Haig said. "It was quite difficult and quite different to what I have been doing in training. Today there were lot of short, repetitive climbs, swapping off and going quite fast. We had a tailwind for a bit of the day, which made it quite fast, too."
Team sports director Laurenzo Lapage praised Haig for having worked hard to get into the break, and was left happy with the work done by the Mitchelton-Scott squad as a whole on the second day of the French stage race.
"The last climb was really steep and narrow, so we were talking about it in the [pre-stage] meeting to be clear that it was possible that the big guys would go there. So the guys put Adam in position there at the bottom, and then he just had to cover and go with them, and that's what happened," said Lapage. "He was there, so that was really good."
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