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Tour de France: Britain’s Adam Yates beats identical twin Simon to win stage one

Britain's Adam Yates
Adam Yates had never won a Tour de France stage before

Britain’s Adam Yates beat identical twin brother Simon to win stage one of the Tour de France in Bilbao, Spain and take the leader’s yellow jersey.

UAE Team Emirates’ Adam, 30, pulled away from Jayco AlUla rider Simon in the final stages of the uphill finish to win his first ever Tour stage.

Two-time winner Tadej Pogacar claimed third in a mini-group sprint.

“My brother came across to me. I didn’t know if I should work with him. I asked and they said ‘go for it’,” said Adam.

Adam, who was unsure at first whether he was supposed to carry on attacking as Pogacar is his team leader, added on ITV 4: “It’s just amazing – I am super happy.

“I knew Simon was going good, I speak to him every day, we are really close and yeah just sharing this experience with him is really nice.

“I just wish he would have pulled a bit easier because he almost dropped me at one moment.”

Simon said cramps on the final climb had affected his speed at the finish.

“There was a bit of cat and mouse over the top, and Adam rolled to the front,” he said.

“He gave Pogacar the nod, sort of ‘can I go? What’s the situation?’ and it was ‘yeah, sure’, so he’s gone and I’ve gone across to him.

“At first when he saw me coming across I think he was put in a difficult situation.

“He asked on the radio, ‘Should I wait or roll through?’ At first he wasn’t pulling but I kind of knew that anyway, I knew it was going to be tricky yet at the same time I had to take the opportunity.

“Normally on a finish like that I wouldn’t beat Pogacar or Vingegaard in a real fast sprint so to get away with Adam was maybe a chance.

“We’re pretty close normally but I had some cramps in the final. It was a humid day so unfortunately he got the better of me but I’m sure there are more chances coming.”

Earlier, Spanish rider Enric Mas and Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz both crashed on the descent of Cote de Vivero.

Mas was forced to pull out of the race with what appeared to be a shoulder injury, becoming the first of the 176 riders to abandon this year’s Tour, while Carapaz, who was bleeding from both knees, finished over 15 minutes behind the winner.

After a cagey start across demanding terrain, the race was blown wide open on the way up Pike Bidea, the final categorised climb of a bumpy 182km route that began and ended in Bilbao.

Two-time winner Pogacar and the defending champion, Denmark’s Jonas Vingegaard, burst clear along with French rider Victor Lafay to reach the summit first but they were passed by both Yates brothers on the descent.

The pair opened up a 20-second lead over a chasing group and were left to fight it out for the stage win themselves.

It was Adam who had the most power in the final 500m, and he gave a final look back over his shoulder before celebrating with his arms aloft as he crossed the line.

There have been questions over Pogacar’s fitness after he broke his wrist while racing in April, but he won the sprint for third place, enough to earn him four bonus seconds and give him an early advantage over Vingegaard, who is considered his main rival.

The race stays in the Basque Country for Sunday’s second stage, a 208km route from Vitoria-Gasteiz to San Sebastian which features five more categorised climbs.

Stage one results

1. Adam Yates (GB/UAE Team Emirates) 4hrs 22mins 49secs

2. Simon Yates (GB/Team Jayco-AlUla) +4secs

3. Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE Team Emirates) +12secs

4. Thibaut Pinot (Fra/Groupama-FDJ) Same time

5. Michael Woods (Can/Israel-Premier Tech)

6. Victor Lafay (Fra/Cofidis)

7. Jai Hindley (Aus/Bora-hansgrohe)

8. Mattias Skjlemose (Den/Lidl-Trek)

9. Jonas Vingegaard (Den/Jumbo-Visma)

10. David Gaudu (Fra/Groupama-FDJ)

General classification after stage two

1. Adam Yates (GB/UAE Team Emirates) 4hrs 22mins 39secs

2. Simon Yates (GB/Team Jayco-AlUla) +8secs

3. Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE Team Emirates) +18secs

4. Thibaut Pinot (Fra/Groupama-FDJ) +22secs

5. Michael Woods (Can/Israel-Premier Tech) Same time

6. Victor Lafay (Fra/Cofidis) Same time

7. Jai Hindley (Aus/Bora-hansgrohe) Same time

8. Mattias Skjlemose (Den/Lidl-Trek) Same time

9. Jonas Vingegaard (Den/Jumbo-Visma) Same time

10. David Gaudu (Fra/Groupama-FDJ) Same time

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