Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In


Vuelta a Espana

Simon Yates relies on ‘blind faith’ as wet roads dampen Vuelta a España start for BikeExchange

Yates finishes 31 seconds back in Vuelta team time trial as director rues unfavorable conditions for BikeExchange's start.

Don't miss a moment from Paris-Roubaix and Unbound Gravel, to the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, Vuelta a España, and everything in between when you join Outside+.

The weatherman wasn’t on BikeExchange-Jayco‘s side Friday.

Simon Yates and his Aussie crew saw wet roads dampen their team time trial hopes in the opening stage of the Vuelta a España.

“It was a tricky start, the road was a little bit half-wet sometimes, you’d come into a corner and it’s just blind faith – you don’t know if it’s going to be wet or dry on the other side,” Yates told reporters at the finish.

Yates’ eight was an early starter in Friday’s early evening TT.

Afternoon downpours in Utrecht saw the roadway scattered with shallow puddles and greasy surfaces through the opening hour of racing on occasionally tight and technical parcours.

Also read:

BikeExchange’s early blitz saw them sit in the hotseat for some time before being felled to fourth as roads dried for later rivals.

“We didn’t have the best conditions, and it would have been nice to see what we could have produced under the best conditions, but the guys had a great ride and we look forward to it now,” team director Gene Bates said.

“We had no major incidents, a couple of little slips on corners and some areas where we could have carried a little bit more speed out. Because of that wetness a little bit more speed washed off going in and out, that all adds up on the course for 23 kilometers.”

BikeExchange’s early mark lived up to pre-stage hype.

A team brimming with burly rouleurs blasted through Utrecht at a speed that proved unmatchable for some time but eventually toppled fast in a short race that brought relatively large time gaps.

Drying tarmac as the stage rolled on saw top GC teams go progressively faster and faster.

Ineos Grendiers popped BikeExchange out of their hotseats before Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl came close. Jumbo-Visma was last down the ramp and duly decimated every time that was set before them, winning by 13 seconds.

“Jumbo were very good, there’s no denying that and they had the best conditions to start in, and rightfully so they brought last year’s leader so they had every right to start,” Bates said.

Yates is fourth-best of the GC contenders after a technical, edgy test that could have seen chasming splits or race-ending crashes.

The Brit’s 31-second deficit could evaporate in the space of one botched bike change or single mountaintop kick in the 20 stages to come.

“We almost had a couple of mishaps but luckily we all survived. I think that’s the main thing, we got through and we look forward to the rest of the race,” Yates said.