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Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers) came into the Tour de France with high hopes of mounting his own overall bid for the general classification but the British rider never found his best form, and with sickness taking him down a notch, and Geraint Thomas rising to a podium spot, the pure climber was forced to sacrifice his own ambitions for the good of the team.
Yates was still incredibly consistent during the race. After stage 2 he never once fell below 10th overall, the spot he would occupy in Paris as the curtain came down on the race. Considering he was hit by COVID leading into the Tour, and then picked up another illness mid-race, the 29-year-old’s performance was highly impressive.
“I had COVID a week before the Tour even started so I didn’t start on the right foot,” Yates told VeloNews after stopping on the Champs-Élysées in Paris on Sunday.
“Somewhere in the second week I got sick again. We’ve had a few guys sick. Dani Martinez was sick in the first week, Castro has been sick and now I’m sick as well. It’s just one of those things. I would have liked to have done more, I would have liked to have helped more but that’s life.”
Yates was still pivotal when it came to defending Thomas in the high mountains. Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogacar were in a league of their own when it came to the overall standings but Thomas made the most of his experience and Yates was often there to cover moves and close gaps.
“First of all I’m super happy for Geraint. A lot of people had written him off for a long time now but he showed that he’s back to his best. As a team we rode super well, won a stage, team GC and had the podium. It’s been a good Tour,” Yates said.
“Personally I would have liked to have done more. Geraint was up there fighting everyday and there were only a couple of guys who were stronger. We didn’t make any mistakes as a team and we did what we could as a team. That’s all you can help for.”
Considering where Yates had come from in the build up to the race, his tenth overall in Paris was still a successful race.
“For three or four days I was in bed. Some guys just get a little tickle in their throat but I was bed bound for three days, at least but the team trusted me and they knew that I could do a good job.”
It’s still unclear, however, if Yates will remain with the team for next year. He is out of contract at the end of this season and was hopeful that a top-five or podium result would bolster his negotiating position. There is interest from several teams, including his previous squad, BikeExchange-Jayco. When asked about his future, and whether he would stay at Ineos or not, YAtes would only say, “I don’t know yet.”
After seeing Richard Carapaz move to EF Education-EasyPost, it’s hard to see Ineos letting another top GC rider leave at this point but if a better offer comes along it might be enough to see Yates move on.