- Chris Sobey
The 2016 Tour de France, which incorporates 21 stages spanning four countries, is now approaching the end with five stages remaining. It’s been another great year for British cycling with defending champion Chris Froome (Team Sky) currently in the lead wearing the Yellow Jersey 1 minute and 47 seconds ahead of his nearest rival Bauke Mollema of team Trek-Segafredo.
Mark Cavendish MBE improved on his impressive 30 Tour de France stage wins this year, adding another four to his grand total, and he currently sits second in the Points Classification race behind Peter Sagan of Team Tinkoff. Cavendish continues to be the most successful British rider at the pinnacle of cycling and sits second on the all-time list of stage wins for the Tour de France.
Arguably the most impressive story of this year’s Tour de France however, has been the meteoric rise of Bury’s Adam Yates (Team Orica-BikeExchange) who at 23 holds the Young Riders white Jersey, but more impressively sits third in the general classification and race overall 2 minutes and 45 seconds behind leader Froome.
The 23-year-old Brit has been the revelation of this year’s Tour. He nearly took the yellow jersey on two occasions in the first 12 stages and sat only 28 seconds behind Froome before the 37.5-kilometre time trial to La Caverne Du Pont-d’Arc. However, this is when Froome and Mollema confirmed their status as the best two riders at this year’s tour and extended their leads over the young British rider by over two and one minutes respectively, but Yates admirably still held on to third after taking 7 seconds off one of the pre-race favourites Nairo Quinatana (Team Movistar).
Yates initially had stated that his aim for this year’s tour would be to win stages however, now he has surpassed all expectations the teams focus will now shift to protecting his podium place. Whether or not Yates can maintain or extend his 14 and 32 second leads over the more experienced Quinatana and Valverde of Team Movistar, who currently sit fourth and fifth respectively, over five more gruelling stages is questionable. However, it’s going to make fascinating viewing regardless of the outcome and whatever Yate’s final finishing place is it’s safe to say the future of British cycling is in good hands and he will no doubt be challenging for, if not winning, the most famous race in Cycling in years to come.