However exciting watching the Tour de France can be, the results are pretty much predictable. Team Sky will grind everyone else down on the climbs with their expert climbers and Chris Froome will get the Yellow Jersey (unless he crashes out, as happened on the Paris Roubaix stage a few years back). No matter, British supporters will be rooting for their team simply because until 2012 we had no one else to support…
Adam and Simon Yates?
23 year old Adam Yates started mixing things up in this year’s Tour de France – though he never really threatened Froome, he caused the likes of Vincenzo Nibali and Nairo Quintana real problems in their pursuit of the podium. Could he be the British successor to Froome? Our cycling blogger looks at who he is and why he might be one to watch.
Yates and his twin brother Simon have been racing for Orica Green Edge over the last two years. Normally they ride together but this year Simon got a 4 month ban for using an asthma medication. Adam claims that this was for purely medical reasons and accuses Simon’s doctor of not applying for a medical exemption. Given how badly UCI riders see doping these days, we hope this is the case.
2014 – Tour of Turkey
Adam Yates’s success story really began in the Tour of Turkey in 2014, where in his first season for Orica Green Edge he won the overall GC rankings. That year he didn’t do the Tour de France but in 2015 he raced it, though never really raising his head above the parapet.
2016 – time to shake things up a bit?
On this year’s Tour de France Yates started to show real form. On Stage 7 he broke from the GC contenders and was seven seconds ahead of the peloton when a banner collapsed on him just 1km from the end! This was a sign of things to come on the Tour de France – you will be aware of Froome’s crisis later in the race… The judges awarded Yates a 7 second lead on everyone else in that stage, putting him second overall on the GC rankings.
Honestly when that happened I started taking Froome for granted and started rooting for Yatesy. It was for Froome to lose where Yatesey had it all to play for.
Yates showed his age on a climb later in the race, doing all in his powers to keep up with the GC peloton and narrowly avoiding cracking on the stage. Sadly, his undoing was being caught getting a push from a team mate on the first days in the Alps. He had 15 second added to his time and with the wet weather on the final two days couldn’t claw his penalty back. He would win the White Jersey for being the best young rider and come 4th on the GC rankings.
Many real GC contenders don’t really hit form until their late 20’s. Yates has hit this at 23. With Chris Froome referring to this race as the hardest he had ever done? Could he be knocked off his perch in 2017? It is very possible, and will really make next year’s competition very exciting indeed.
Watch this space – Sky could yet be cracked!