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Tour de France 2024: UAE Emirates’ Adam Yates on ‘nasty’ crash

The accident was one of many which has had a big effect on the shape of the season so far.

The highest profile was a huge crash in April’s Itzulia Basque Country, which seriously injured Tour de France champion Jonas Vingegaard, external and two of his main competitors for this year’s Tour, Primoz Roglic and Remco Evenepoel.

All have since recovered, but Vingegaard’s surgery for bruised and punctured lungs means he has not competed until the big race this weekend, and could still be compromised.

So much has gone wrong on the road this year, that Ineos owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe has even written an open letter to the UCI about safety in the sport.

And the UCI itself has introduced a ‘yellow card’ system “for any offence likely to pose a risk”.

Plus, it is not lost on Yates, or anyone else, that his superb victory in Bilbao on stage one last year came after tributes to Team Bahrain Victorious rider Gino Mader, who was killed in a crash during a descent just days before.

So how does Yates feel about the risks cyclists appear obliged to take to gain an advantage on closed public roads, which cannot possibly be removed of trees, rocks and other furniture which can become deadly at speeds of up to 90kph?

“To be honest I’m quite cautious in the way I ride,” he says. “A lot of guys do take risks and push boundaries, but I’m not one of those guys. I know what I need to do to win, but I don’t take extra steps and put my life on the line.

“The sport’s always getting quicker, and the equipment we use is always getting faster. So there’s always more risks.”

Race organisers have made changes since Mader’s death, and following the introduction of the UCI’s SafeR initiative.

“I understand how tricky it is to organise a race,” adds Yates. “And with riders it’s in our nature to try to win – that’s what we’re paid to do.

“I’m not a person who knows to really comment, but if we race on certain roads that are bigger and wider, you have a bit more space to manoeuvre. Maybe that’ll make differences, but in the end it’s a tricky topic.”

Whatever the answers are, everyone in the sport is happy to see Yates riding again, and riding well.

“I don’t really have any big [career] goals – I just want to perform at my best. It was tricky, but I’m alive and still on the bike.”

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