Mitchelton Scott, the team of Simon Yates, the current British leader of the Giro d’Italia, are dominant. Yates himself took the stage win on the summit of Gran Sasso d’Italia, on Stage 9, with teammate Esteban Chaves third.
They occupy the top two places on the Giro’s General Classification.
The team are controlling the pace of the race, protecting Yates when needed, and placing him at the sharp end of things when the moment is right.
They appear in full control.
We can count ourselves lucky that Mitchelton Scott delivered perhaps their greatest tactical move today, on Stage 9: They began the Tour of California, in the city of Long Beach, with twin Yates brother Adam leading their team.
Visible proof, in a pre-emptive strike against the keyboard warriors, that they haven’t simply been switching the identical twins, stage by stage, day-on-day-off, on the Giro.
Had Adam not been racing, this particular conspiracy theory would surely have reared its ugly, identical head. Discussion about style on the bike, eye-colour, and other distinguishing marks would’ve rumbled. Ill-informed debate about whether Adam could theoretically be taking Simon’s doping tests would have ensued.
Perhaps a new rumour, surrounding a mysterious “third” Yates twin, not racing in California and playing some undefined but no doubt nefarious role in Simon’s current dominance may still surface.
But as it stands, my (admittedly timid) excursions into comment-world suggest we are not yet plumbing those depths.Embed from Getty Images
On the climb up to the Gran Sasso todays peloton were stretched collectively on a high altitude rack, as the twenty-odd kilometres took them gradually above the snow line, to be met by the steepest slopes in the final kilometres.
Pinot, Pozzovivo, Chaves and Carapaz – the strongest climbers in the race gritted and grimaced and took lumps out of each other, while Yates gave it the body language.
Out of the saddle, expressionless, looking around at his rivals – it was a show of strength. Quickly followed by a second one, as he timed his move in the final hundred metres and took the win.
A smile appeared mid-effort, when the win was assured. A howl of joy as he crossed the line. And my extremely reliable sources out in California delivered a confirmed sighting of brother Adam in a different bike race, on a different continent.
An absolute tactical master-stroke.
(Twins Image: via Scott Bikes)