Vuelta a España champion Simon Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) has claimed his first ever victory in an individual time trial today on stage five of Paris-Nice. As one of the earlier starters, the Briton blasted around the 25.5km fairly flat course, setting the fastest time and with no riders able to better him he held on for an unexpected victory, his second of the 2019 season.
The 25.5-kilometre route followed a straight-forward and mostly-flat parcours, interrupted only by a small climb in the middle before a final drag up to the finish line. In the early stages it was New Zealander rider Tom Scully (EF-Education First) to set the first bench mark, with a time of 31 minutes 53 seconds, followed shortly after by fellow countryman Jack Bauer, who crossed the line with the second fastest time of 31 minutes 11 seconds.
As riders completed the distance, Scully remained in the lead until Yates, starting mid-event, finished with a blistering time of 30 minutes 26 seconds to move into the stage lead.
Yates watched on patiently from the hot seat as many of the race favourites crossed the line. It seemed as if no riders were able to better the time with Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin) getting the closest but still seven-seconds a drift.
Yates anxiously waited for the final rider, race leader Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky), to set off down the ramp but Yates’ time proved unbeatable with Kwiatkowski settling for third place.
Simon Yates: “I am really happy with my performance, I have been working on my time trial quite a lot the last few years but I didn’t really expect to be fastest today. At the start of the day I thought it was for the TT specialists. So especially with how this course was I am very happy.
“It was really straight forward, there weren’t any corners you really needed to brake for, it was just in the skis, so a pretty filthy time trial for a guy of my size. The climb in the middle wasn’t real hard, the climb up to the finish line was probably harder so I am really happy with what I did today.
“The sensations are good for the next days, I knew I had good form, well decent form coming into the race and just got caught out in the crosswinds, it wasn’t from a lack of form or anything.