The UAE draws another card: Ayuso yields… and Adam Yates takes over

The leadership changes cyclist, but not team. Juan Ayuso, who started in yellow in the queen stage of the Tour de Romandie, was unable to defend the precious garment in the fourth stage, which was for his partner in the UAE, the British Adam Yates. The menu for Swiss lands left one of the toughest climbs of the season so far: Thyron 2,000, an ascent of almost 21 km at an average 7.6%. The snow, in the ditches, and the low temperatures accompanied the runners. It was 8.5 km from the top, still a world away, when Ayuso said goodbye. Hands to the earpiece and warned the team about him: “I had no legs, I exploded. Yesterday was a surprise (his victory in the time trial), because I came here to help my classmates. This is more normal.” Ayuso said after more than 200 days without competing in the race that is being his debut this season.

The penultimate day, between Sion and the aforementioned Thyron 2,000, had five ascents, including two first category plus the last one, considered special. Here the race was to be decided, and the teams with riders at the top of the standings had different strategies. A breakaway of ten riders did not have an excessive margin with respect to the peloton, because the rent barely exceeded three minutes, and in such demanding terrain, they had few options to dream. Several riders reached the final port in the lead, while they were being neutralized one by one… until none remained ahead in a curious way: the Jayco, with riders ahead, was the one who finished off the getaway. His strategy did not go well because none of his team was able to shine later.

The DSM did test it with a higher rate. In fact, they were the ones who took down the leader Juan Ayuso, so they fulfilled part of their plan. Then came the attack of his runner, Romain Bardet, bravely with 6.5km to go. It was difficult to open a hole and he only had a few meters of advantage before being blocked. After this, and with carte blanche since Ayuso was not there, Adam Yates launched his attack, ultimately winning, 4.3 km from the top. After this movement, the reduced group of favorites left the responsibility to Jorgenson, virtual leader, and the American from Movistar, Despite enduring in a great way, he could not hunt down the British. Those who were at the wheel yankee they moved in the final stretch of the ascent and Pinot, in his last season, finished in second place.

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Glory was for Adam Yates, who had just fallen off in Catalonia and is now recovering sensations. “What Ayuso has done these days is phenomenal because he is not yet in full form. He was the man to protect today. With 6-7 km to go they gave me freedom and I attacked. Juan’s great victories will come,” said the Briton, highlighting the “difficulty” of winning over 2,000 meters. This Sunday will be a day for a theoretical sprint in Geneva, so Yates should not have any difficulties to finish off his victory in the general. Jorgenson, second, and Caruso, third, occupy the other two podium places. Egan Bernal, in a race with so much young talent ahead (Poole, Uijtdebroeks…), finished in eighth position, trying to return to his best days. Ayuso arrived at 3:28 from Yates. Little by little, recovering the form, and confirmed that in June they will have another important event in the Swiss country: Tour of Switzerland. His main challenge in 2023 is La Vuelta.

Fourth stage classification

1st Adam Yates (GBR/UAE) 4h 40:41

2nd Thiabut Pinot (FRA/DSM) at 7

3rd Damiano Caruso (ITA/Bahrain) 19

4th Max Poole (GBR/DSM) 21

5th Matteo Jorgenson (USA/Movistar) mt

27th Juan Ayuso (UAE) 3:21

General

1º Adam Yates (GBR/UAE) 13h 14:41

2nd Thiabut Pinot (FRA/DSM) at 19

3rd Damiano Caruso (ITA/Bahrain) 27

13th Jonathan Castroviejo (Ineos) 2:30

17th Juan Ayuso (UAE) 3:08

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