The Daily Telegraph Tuesday 1 September 2020 *** 13 Sport Tour de France Yates aims to grab yellow jersey as Tour climbs By Tom Cary It promises to be a fascinating stage today, with four categorised climbs even before the final climb to Orcieres-Merlette. Alaphilippe said he would do everything in his power to hang on to yellow, even if he stressed again that he was not anticipating holding on to it once the race hits the Alps in week three. “I recced the Alpine stages and it will be really difficult,” he said after the finish in Sisteron yesterday. “Tomorrow I do my best to defend the yellow jersey. I’m proud to wear it. It’s a huge happiness that I feel, so I will give it my all to keep it. If I keep it, it will be another bonus. Every day is just a bonus.” The Frenchman added that he did not feel the same pressure he experienced last year after taking the into Epernay on stage five. “The feeling this time, the feeling to get the yellow jersey [on Sunday], was a relief,” he said. “I feel much more relaxed after I won yesterday. I was missing a win and I did it in style. Today, I was very proud to watch the team all riding together in defence of the jersey. Tomorrow will be a difficult stage and just thinking I have to fight gives me a lot of motivation.” CYCLING CORRESPONDENT in Sisteron Early mountain stage gives Bury rider opportunity to shine Australian Ewan times finish perfectly to capture third stage It may be slimmer pickings than usual in terms of British riders this year, with past champions Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas both high-profile absentees from the 107th Tour de France, not to mention 30-time stage winner Mark Cavendish. But Bury’s Adam Yates has a chance to add his name to the history books by claiming the famous yellow jersey today. The 28-year-old, who rides for Australian team Mitchelton-Scott, finds himself in second place in the general classification heading into today’s fourth stage from Sisteron to Orcieres-Merlette, just four seconds behind leader Julian Alaphilippe (DeceuninckQuickStep). If Yates wins today, even if Alaphilippe finishes second with no time gaps between them, he is guaranteed to go into yellow thanks to the bonus seconds on offer on the line, which would put them level time-wise. Their average finish positions over the first four days would then be used to separate them, with Yates marginally better off on that score after rolling home 41st yesterday compared with Alaphilippe’s 58th. Of course, there is no guarantee either of them will contest today’s final, but they have as good a chance as anyone. They are both clearly in form and the final climb – 7.1kilometres at an average gradient of 6.7 per cent – should suit them. Much may depend on whether Jumbo-Visma and Ineos Grenadiers see them as genuine threats to their riders’ hopes of overall victory in Paris. Alaphilippe and Yates both deny having designs on the yellow jersey in the long term. But Alaphilippe said that last year, too, and ended up going within four days of victory. Yates, meanwhile, finished fourth overall in 2016 and clearly has the pedigree to ride for GC. maillot jaune His twin, Simon, won the Vuelta a Espana two years ago. If the likes of Primoz Roglic, Tom Dumoulin (both Jumbo-Visma) and Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) suspect either of them is bluffing, they will keep them on a short leash. But the race favourites will not want to go too deep, either. We are only on day four, and there are some massive days to come later this week. The Tour route this year is unusual in that the organisers have crammed the first week with climbs. Today’s summit finish is actually the earliest road summit finish in Tour history. The 1979 Tour featured a time trial to Superbagneres on stage two, but never before has the peloton had to race up to an Alpine ski station on the fourth day of the race. Yesterday’s stage was a far easier day in the saddle for the GC contenders. France’s Jerome Cousin was allowed to spend 110km off the front alone before he was swept up with 16km to go, setting the scene for a bunch sprint into Sisteron which was won brilliantly by Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal), the Australian timing his sprint perfectly into a strong headwind to squeeze past Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and snatch victory from Irishman Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-QuickStep). However, the riders will be wary with Thursday another summit finish, this time in the Massif Central, before the race hits the Pyrenees this weekend. Today Distance Stage 4 Hill climb Sprint Bonus time 157km Côtes de Corps 97.5km Côte de l’Aullagnier OrcièresMerlette Col du Festre 125.5km 67.5km Veynes Côte de St-Légerles-Mélèzes 51.5km 141.5km Sisteron
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