First year professional Adam Yates of the Orica GreenEdge team laid down another strong performance on stage 2 of the Critérium du Dauphiné with eighth place on the Col du Béal. The British rider currently sits ninth overall, 1:31 minutes down on race leader Chris Froome (Team Sky) but is determined to hunt for stage wins as the race continues.
Yates’s stage 2 ride to the summit of the Col du Béal comes on the back of a dream start to his WorldTour debut season. He and his brother Simon both turned professional with Orica GreenEdge this year with Adam already capturing a stage win and the overall at the Tour of Turkey. He followed that up with fifth overall at the Tour of California.
“Yesterday wasn’t too bad. Obviously I’ve been in some pretty good form recently and I’ve continued that through. I had a bit of a bad week after California due to jetlag and fatigue but I had an easy week and then started training again. I’m happy with how yesterday went,” Yates told Cyclingnews at the start of the third stage.
Stage 2 was marked by the hotly contested battle between Alberto Contador and Chris Froome with both riders keen to show off their form ahead of the Tour de France. Froome made several brutal attacks that helped to split the race on the final climb. Contador matched the Sky leader but eventually was forced to concede the stage.
Yates was dropped by the leaders on the climb but rode at his own pace and finished 42 seconds down on the stage winner.
“When you’re racing these big guys you just have to sit there and wait to see how you go. In the last few races I’ve been in the mindset of attacking and gaining time but when you’re against Froome and Contador you can’t really do that. So the plan was to sit there and try and hold on for as long as possible. I was a bit too far back in the group when it kicked off but I’m happy and we’ll try again.”
Despite a more than respectable start to the race and a top-10 place on GC, Yates is not putting any pressure on himself. Nor is his team for that matter who remain focused stage wins.
“It’s about stages really. GC is difficult and I’m a 21 neo pro at the Dauphiné. It’s not something that usually happens and we came here for stages, and if it means I’m up there on GC then that’s just a bonus,” Yates added.
Second in last year’s Tour de l'Avenir, Yates was on the radar of a number of teams before eventually joining Orica. Despite all his natural talent and potential he admitted that even he has been surprised by his progress.
“Obviously I never expected to compete at this level so soon but we new we had to put the work in and step up a level so me and Simon put the work in over the winter. Because of that work it hasn’t felt like a massive step up. It was just a case of a bit more training and more intensity. You just have to put the work in.”
“There’s not pressure from the team, that comes from myself and I want to carry on riding well. The team said yesterday just try but if it doesn’t work out, then no worries.”