Tour de France: Chris Froome now my top target, insists Adam Yates
Adam Yates insisted he would not be afraid to attack Chris Froome as he bids for a podium spot in the final week of the Tour de France.
The 23-year-old Orica-BikeExchange rider unexpectedly finds himself third overall with five stages to go, two minutes and 59 seconds behind Froome in yellow.
Yates arrived at the Tour insisting he was interested only in stage wins and not the general classification, but that tone has shifted the longer he has stayed near the top of the standings.
Four challenging days in the Alps separate him from the podium of only his second Tour.
Earlier yesterday, Froome praised Yates' performance, saying: "I wouldn't expect Adam to be putting me under pressure and trying to attack on one of the big mountain stages, but he's quietly doing his thing, keeping his spot on the podium and it's very impressive for his age."
But Yates insisted he had no reason to hold back if he saw his chance.
"Why not?" he said when asked if he might attack. "Froome looks strong. I can't see him having a bad day, but why not? If he does have a moment's weakness, why not try something?"
As he spent much of yesterday's rest day in Berne shuttling back and forth to the Starbucks coffee shop next to his team's hotel, Yates credited a new-look preparation for his Tour performance, a year after he finished 50th on his debut.
"I had good preparation this year," Yates said.
"Last year wasn't super, I did a lot of different stuff, messing about and missing days training and stuff, but this year it's 100 per cent.
"The preparation couldn't have been better and this is the end result."