Simon Yates climbs to Tour of Britain stage win
Event: Tour of Britain stage six
When: 20 September 2013
Where: Haytor, Dartmoor
How it unfolded
Tour of Britain’s first mountain-top stage finish; an elite group containing Sir Bradley Wiggins, Nairo Quintana and Dan Martin. For many, stage six’s result may have seemed a foregone conclusion. Not so for 21-year-old Simon Yates.
Yates burst into the spotlight in February, winning the world points race title on the track in Minsk. Following an excellent season on the road in Europe under the tutelage of coach Keith Lambert, Yates returned for the Tour of Britain oozing quiet confidence and in superlative form.
Ahead of the stage, Yates had been knocking on the door of glory all week, with a strong performance on stage one into Kendal revealing glints of his world-class form. But nothing could prepare the cycling public for his show of strength on Haytor.
Onto the final climb to Haytor, the day’s breakaway group had been swept up by a group containing Yates, brother Adam and some of the world’s best stage racers and climbers.
One by one, the favourites attacked; Colombian sensation Nairo Quintana and Irish grimpeur Dan Martin the most notable. But none could break from the front of a group driven along at merciless pace by Sir Bradley Wiggins and his Sky Procycling lieutenant, David Lopez.
In the final yards, Lopez attacked, anticipating a payoff for his day’s work shepherding the gold jersey. Yates however tore up the script, leaping from the group, leaving his rivals leaden-legged and sprinting away to take a memorable victory.
What they said
“It’s one of my best victories – to win a stage of my national tour. With the company that was there. Yeah, you can’t get much better.
“I just hoped for a good position as I hit the climb and people just started to fall away. Dan Martin and Quintana started to attack and slowly it started to whittle down. I know I have quite a fast kick but I still didn’t believe it until I looked behind a few metres before the line.”
Why should this be the British Cycling Ride of the Year 2013?
The 2013 Tour of Britain was as brutal as they come, with epic terrain and challenging weather making the going hard for the whole field. It also had the classiest field in the history of the modern race.
Yet through this, 21-year-old Yates showed British fans what he’ d been showing the UCI under 23 Nations’ Cup peloton all year; that he has the talent to take on and beat the world’s best.