Mitchelton-Scott’s Adam Yates will ride into Paris on the final stage of this year’s Tour de France in ninth place overall, having dropped down two places following the stage 20 individual time trial that finished on the climb of La Planche des Belles Filles on Saturday.
Yates finished the stage in 23rd position, 4:27 behind the stage winner, and the rider who will now be crowned the 2020 Tour de France champion, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates).
The British climber might have expected a better performance on the climb during the time trial, but admitted that he struggled to find any kind of rhythm, and is not a noted time triallist. Yates has nevertheless enjoyed a Tour that saw him wear the leader’s yellow jersey for four days, from stage 5 to stage 9. After losing yellow to Jumbo-Visma’s Primož Roglič, Yates then remained in the GC battle for the rest of the race, despite having come into this year’s Tour with the intention of winning stages.
His ninth place overall is also nevertheless the 28-year-old’s second-best placing in five Tours de France, having taken fourth and the white jersey as best young rider at the 2016 race. He also finished ninth at the 2017 Giro d’Italia.
“Today wasn’t my best performance,” Yates admitted at the finish on stage 20, according to his team’s website. “In the beginning, I paced it quite well on the flatter section, but once the road got lumpier, I found it quite difficult to pace and couldn’t find my rhythm, and it cost me towards the end.”
While most riders in the top 10 of the GC opted to swap from their time trial bikes to road bikes for the final climb, Yates stayed on his time trial bike – although Jumbo-Visma’s Tom Dumoulin was another rider who chose to stick with his TT bike all the way, and finished second on the stage.
“I did my best. We have to be happy with that, and we still have one more big opportunity for ‘Mezza’ tomorrow,” Yates said, looking ahead to the final stage to the Champs-Elysées in Paris on Sunday, which will be another opportunity for the Australian WorldTour team to try to take a stage victory at this year’s Tour via sprinter Luka Mezgec, who’s twice finished second on stages – both times to Sunweb’s Søren Kragh Andersen.
Yates will join Ineos Grenadiers in 2021 after seven years at Mitchelton-Scott, while twin brother Simon will remain with the Australian team, having signed a two-year contract extension.