The conclusion of the Tour de France has seen Simon Yates officially awarded the white jersey for the best young rider in Paris this evening.
Yates backs up the result of twin brother Adam Yates, who won the jersey 12months prior for ORICA-SCOTT, becoming just the second British rider to claim the classification and the first ever brothers to share the title.
“I think it’s a great thing,” Yates said of he and his brother’s achievements. “I hope it’s one of those thing that we look back on and see it as a great achievement that we’ve won the white jersey as brothers back-to-back.”
The 24-year-old’s consistency across the three-week, 3,540km Tour saw him finish in seventh position overall. He took the white jersey on stage five and held it right through to Paris.
Today’s final stage was won in a sprint by Dylan Groenewegen (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) whilst Team Sky’s Chris Froome was presented with his fourth Tour de France title. Nearest best young rider competitor Louis Meinjtes (UAE Team Emirates) finished two-minutes six-seconds behind Yates.
“I tried when I could to attack but also saved energy by staying in the wheels when it was the right time too,” Yates said. “Whenever I have the opportunity to attack I like to race aggressive. I think it’s great for the fans, but riding GC is also about picking the right time to do that and the right time to sit back and I am learning that.
“A lot of things have contributed to this throughout the three weeks. I had a good prologue and it was actually earlier in the race when I made the most difference. Louis had a great ride and clawed a lot of time back on me but I managed to hang on.
“From the time I joined the team, we knew this is what we were aiming to do – riding for general classification. We approached it like any other race, with no pressure and I think that’s the best way to do it.
“The team did a fantastic job from the very beginning. They know me, they know how I ride and I want to thank them for everything they’ve done the past few weeks.”
Going into the world’s biggest race with the goal of a top-ten overall and winning the best young rider competition, sport director Matt White was pleased with the team’s commitment to the objective – a new one for ORICA-SCOTT at the Tour de France.
“Our Tour de France campaign has definitely been a success,” White said. “It’s Simon’s first time targeting the general classification at the Tour. We knew if we won the white jersey that it would put us in the top ten in the general classification because we know the talent of Meinjtes.”
“The development that Simon has shown these last few weeks has been a big step up. We are proud with how all of the boys have ridden. We had a very specific focus and we weren’t shy in stating our goals at the start of this Tour.
“It’s been a gradual process for this team to learn to ride for the general classification over the past 18months. We have learnt in every Grand Tour and we’ve had a different group in each Grand Tour.
“We know that our leaders can podium and they are only going to get better. Now we also know that no matter who is at what race, we have different combinations to support them.”
How it happened:
After 20 days on racing, the peloton rolled out of Montgeron in good spirits for a short 103km final stage to the Champs Elysees in Paris.
Yates rolled alongside fellow jersey winners Froome, Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb – sprint) and Warren Barguil (Team Subweb – mountain) in the ceremonious parade ahead of the local laps in Paris.
After entering onto the Champs-Elysees to a rapturous applause, the stage in earnest began as the sprint teams worked to earn the last prize on offer, a final day stage win.
Nine riders worked off the front to form the day’s breakaway, with South African Daryl Impey representing ORICA-SCOTT.
They were eventually caught and a bunch sprint resulted with Groenwegen the winner ahead of Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal).
“The Champs Elysees is the most iconic finish in our sport, I think it’s the most iconic finish of any sport,” White said. “It’s on a global stage and we want to ride aggressively and showcase our sponsors.”
“You can do that in two ways, put someone in the breakaway or contest the sprint and we had Daryl in the move which was great.”
Tour de France – Stage 21 Results:
1. Dylan Groenewegen (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) 2:25:39
2. Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) ST
3. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) ST
34. Simon Yates (ORICA-SCOTT) ST
Tour de France – FINAL General Classification:
1. Chris Froome (Team Sky) 86:20:55
2. Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac) +0:54
3. Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) +2:20
7. Simon Yates (ORICA-SCOTT) +6:14
Tour de France – Best Young Rider:
1. Simon Yates (ORICA-SCOTT) 86:27:09
2. Louis Meintjes (UAE Team Emirates) +2:06
3. Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) +27:07