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Giro d'Italia

Simon Yates on Giro d’Italia stage win: ‘It was my best time trial ever’

Fresh investments in time trial training pays off for Yates, who moves into pole position going into Mount Etna next week.

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BUDAPEST (VN) — Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange-Jayco) even surprised himself when he roared to victory in Saturday’s 9.2km time trial.

The English star beat back the likes of Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) and Tom Dumoulin (Team Jumbo-Visma) to win just his second time trial in his career.

“I think it’s my best time trial ever,” he said. “I’ve only won two TTs now, one was a couple of years ago in Paris-Nice before. I’ve done some good ones and some really bad ones, but for sure this is my best one.”

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All eyes were on Dumoulin when he roared across the finish line with the fastest time. The Dutch star barely had time to wipe himself down before Yates came through faster. BikeExchange-Jayco team staff waiting at the finish line below the Budapest castle were ecstatic.

“We worked very hard with our equipment this year, with my position, and preparing for the time trials, and we’re seeing the results now,” he said.

This is the fifth stage win at the Giro for Yates, after three in 2018, at Gran Sasso, Osimo and Sappada, and one at Alpe di Mera last year.

The victory was also Great Britain’s fourth individual time trial victory at the Giro after Bradley Wiggins in 2010, David Millar in 2011 and Alex Dowsett in 2013.

Yates, third overall last year, was grateful to put his stamp on the time trial victory.

After winning the 2018 Vuelta a España, Yates has emerged as one of the most consistent riders in the WorldTour, with stage victories in all three grand tours as well as other important victories.

Yates: ‘I wouldn’t read too much into this’

Yates back in the high life again with his career fifth Giro stage victory. (Photo: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Just two days into the 2022 Giro, Yates says it’s too early to draw too many conclusions.

“We’ll see what happens on Etna, we have to get through tomorrow first safely, any crashes any problems. And then yeah we’ll go through there,” he said.  “Let’s stay calm guys, let’s not read too much into this.”

Yates was quick to play down the impact of his impressive start, in part because it evokes his 2018 Giro when he came out gangbusters to wear the pink jersey only to succumb to Chris Froome in the closing days of the race.

Mount Etna is the first major GC challenge, with its looming presence waiting in Sicily for Tuesday’s fourth stage.

Yates brings a new level of maturity and experience to this Giro, and knows what happens now doesn’t necessarily mean success in three weeks’ time.

“I wouldn’t read too much into this,” he said. “It was a 12-minute effort today. Already on Etna it’s going to be one hour. and it’s a very different race from here  on out. Of course, I am elastic that I came gained time and did not lost time, but I wouldn’t read too much into it.”