Adam Yates pipped his own twin brother Simon to claim the opening stage of the Tour de France and don the first yellow jersey of this year’s race at the end of a 182.5-km loop around Bilbao on Saturday.
Adam got the better of identical twin Simon to triumph for the first time on a grand tour, while his UAE Emirates team leader Tadej Pogacar finished third, also raising his arms in celebration.
Yates, who had set a devilish pace for Pogacar in the brutal climb shortly before the finish, pushed on in the descent to Bilbao, joined by his brother who is riding for the Jayco-AIUla team.
Adam was the stronger in the final uphill drag to prevail by four seconds, with Pogacar, who showed great legs in his first stage race since breaking a wrist in April, crossing the line 12 seconds off the pace.
“My brother came across to me and we started working together. At first, I didn’t know if I should work with him, so I asked my team on the radio and they said ‘Yeah, go for it’,” said Yates after his maiden victory on a grand tour.
“We’re really close. To share this experience with him is really nice – but I wish he would pull a little bit easier because he almost dropped me one moment! I’m super happy, I just want to keep my feet on the ground.”
Overall, Yates leads his brother by eight seconds after picking up 10 seconds for the stage win, while Pogacar is 18 seconds off the pace.
Pogacar took a four-second bonus for his third place to take a slight advantage over defending champion Jonas Vingegaard, who was the only main contender to follow the Slovenian when he attacked on the Cote de Pike, 10 km from the finish.
Earlier, Enric Mas became the first of the 176 riders to abandon the race, quitting after crashing heavily on a descent some 22 kilometres from the line.
The Movistar leader, a three-time Vuelta a Espana runner-up who finished fifth overall on the Tour in 2020, fell off his bike alongside Richard Carapaz, one of the other podium contenders.
Carapaz climbed back on his bike after being attended to by race doctors and was hovering more than 10 minutes behind the leading bunch, eventually rolling over the line a hefty 15:24 off the pace.
¡VICTORIA DE ADAM YATES! Doblete de los hermanos Yates en esta primera etapa del Tour de Francia, Adam se sitúa líder y Pogacar llega tercero, llevándose el esprint de grupo, sumando 4 segundos de bonificación. 😍💪👍 📹 @Eurosport_ES pic.twitter.com/5fqKgneuz9
— ⚡Maza⚡ (@MazaCiclismo) July 1, 2023