Yates made up for some earlier disappointment in the Giro by earning his second stage win of the three-week grand tour. The 29-year-old Brit had also captured the Stage 2 time trial during the opening week in Hungary, but his general classification goals were derailed by a crash in the opening week that left him with a sore knee. The injury, along with some difficulties in the heat, caused Yates to drop out of GC contention on the pivotal Stage 9 that featured a summit finish at Blockhaus—but he looks to be back on track heading into the final week.
Riding his TCR Advanced SL Disc team bike with a CADEX WheelSystem, Yates targeted Saturday’s challenging Stage 14 as a day to make his comeback. The 147km stage was short and intense, featuring five categorized climbs totaling about 3000m of climbing. The day was filled with plenty of attacks from riders focused on the general classification or gunning for the stage win. The team worked to put Yates in contention in the final kilometers, and the 29-year-old Brit delivered in the end.
“I tried a few times in the beginning but it wasn’t possible,” said Yates, who attacked just before the final descent into Turin, with about 5km to go, to earn the win. “So we had to change tactics and go after the stage normally.”
Team BikeExchange-Jayco head sports director Matt White said the stage win showed the character of Yates and his teammates.
“It was a big win,” White said. “A very nice turnaround by the team and Simon as well. Things hadn’t gone as planned but a true test of someone’s character is how they can turn things around. Simon had a very, very impressive ride today.”
Another Win for Groenewegen
While Yates was winning in Italy, the team also had a squad in the Netherlands to support sprinter Dylan Groenewegen at the Veenendaal-Veenendaal Classic. The 28-year-old Dutch speedster delivered a dominant performance to win the 195km race, beating Gerben Thijssen (second) and Arnaud de Lie (third) after a strong showing by his teammates.
“We were here with a young group of riders,” said Groenewegen, who powered his Propel Advanced SL Disc team bike with a CADEX WheelSystem to earn his fourth win of the year. “We positioned well all day long, and especially in the last corner I was in the perfect spot. I am happy because everything went as planned. We are on the right track.”
Following the win, Groenewegen turned his attention to the Rund um Köln, a 198km race in Germany scheduled for the following day. He is riding a wave of momentum following a long training block and then a win at the Tour of Hungary.
“It’s never easy to come back into races after an off period, but now we have an intense period of races,” Groenewegen said. “And this will be really helpful to get back on the right track for our big goals of the season.”