We all know Adam Yates can climb mountains in fine fashion. The 22-year-old from Bury proved his ascending ability in last year’s Tour of Turkey and Dauphiné, winning the former and finishing an excellent sixth against strong competition in the latter.
But the Tour de France is another matter. The best in the world at the top of their game tackling the picturesque but far-from-easy 15km climb to La Pierre-Saint-Martin could have left the Orica-GreenEdge youngster struggling after a testing opening week for the entire team.
Yet he stuck to his guns as the lead group whittled down and down until only the favourites remained, to finish a very creditable seventh, 2’04” after Chris Froome crossed the line having obliterated the field.
And look who Yates finished ahead of: Pierre Rolland and Tony Gallopin, first French finishers on Bastille Day; Tejay van Garderen, found wanting when it came to the crunch; Alberto Contador, no longer believing the Giro/Tour double is a viable proposition; and Vincenzo Nibali, now almost seven minutes adrift of the yellow jersey.
So have a banana, Adam. (That’s him on the right in the photo… we think…)
2015 Tour de France: Top Banana Winners
Stage 1: Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing Team)
Stage 2: Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo)
Stage 3: Adam Hansen (Lotto Soudal)
Stage 4: Geraint Thomas (Team Sky)
Stage 5: Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-Quick Step)
Stage 6: Perrig Quemeneur (Team Europcar)
Stage 7: Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing Team)
Stage 8: Cannondale-Garmin
Stage 9: IAM Cycling
Rouleur's Top Banana is awarded after every 2015 Tour de France stage. It goes to an unsung hero who has caught the eye or deserves recognition for his efforts, rather than necessarily the stage winner or the most attacking rider.