2018 Vuelta España champion Simon Yates outlasted the breakaway riders to take a solo victory at the Tour de France today on another hard summit finish in the Pyrenees. Yates attacked at the base of the final climb and held off the general classification contenders to claim his second victory of the race.
The win comes just three-days after his first ever Tour de France victory on stage 12 and makes it a hat-trick of stage wins for Mitchelton-SCOTT in this year’s edition of the race following Daryl Impey’s win on stage nine.
The final day in the Pyrenees began at a rapid pace with many riders attacking to try and make it into the day’s breakaway. Simon Yates was alert, making a couple of attacks himself in an attempt to make it into a move. Finally, on the first of four categorised climbs of the day, Yates was able get away in a large group that snapped the elastic to the peloton and opened up a solid lead.
Eight more riders bridged across after the climb to make it a sizeable group of 36 riders and they rode out to a maximum advantage of over five-minutes, but with the peloton chasing hard all day, as some of the breakaway rider sat inside the top 20 on the GC.
As the breakaway group headed over the next climbs, riders began to drop off the pace with Simon Yates always on the front foot, staying at the head of the race throughout the various splits.
On the penultimate climb of the day, the Mur de Péguère, Simon Geschke (CCC) attacked and led solo as the breakaway group continued fragmented behind. The CCC rider was joined by Yates as the descent started and pair increase their advantage, reaching the bottom with a one-minute lead over four chasers.
Behind, action came from the general classification hopefuls which saw Adam Yates lose contact from the GC group as the pace picked up on the steepest section of the climb. Mikel Landa (Movistar Team) launched an attack which ignited the fierce battle for the GC positions.
Reaching the base of the final climb still holding onto a one-minute forty second lead over the chasers, Simon Yates took his chances again and with 8.5 kilometres to go on the steepest section of the climb he launched another attack and dropped Geschke.
Powering ahead, the Briton maintained his lead hovering around one-minute in front of Landa for most of the climb, finally reaching the line 33 seconds ahead of a late attacker, second place Thibaut Pinot (Groupama FDJ) to take another incredible stage victory.
Simon Yates – “It was on from start to finish. The GC guys were coming fast, I know personally how fast they can go, so I wanted to maintain the advantage to the bottom of the final climb. Simon Geschke was a great companion on the descent, so thank you to him, but I knew I had to go early on the final climb.
“I came here with the first objective to help my brother, the second to try to get a stage win. Now I have two so I’m very proud. This one was really hard, the first wasn’t easy, but this one, with the parcours was extremely difficult.
“I’m very tired now but there are three very hard stages in the final week so we will try again.”