(Bilbao) “I’m sure he’ll be a pain in the next three weeks…”

Adam Yates smiled when La Presse asked him how he felt about his twin brother Simon, whom he had just beaten in an unprecedented and unexpected duel at the first stage of the Tour de France, Saturday afternoon, in Bilbao .

It would have been even better to know the opinion of his parents, who follow the start of the Tour aboard a caravan.

“I don’t know where they are exactly, but I saw them on the course,” said the first yellow jersey at a press conference. It doesn’t often happen to see brothers finishing first and second in the first stage of the Tour de France. It’s a great experience for Simon, me and my parents. »

In the Pike coast, just over ten kilometers from the finish, Adam Yates first set the table for his “boss” Tadej Pogačar, whom he accompanied up to 500 meters from the summit. .

The Slovenian from UAE Team Emirates continued the effort, inviting his rival Jonas Vingegaard to take a stint, to which the Dane from Jumbo-Visma responded by puffing out his cheeks.

Stalled for a time, Yates managed to come back at the start of the descent, simply continuing on his momentum when he caught up with the leading trio completed by the Frenchman Victor Lafay (Cofidis).

Leaving as a “postman”, Adam Yates saw Simon join him. For a moment, the Briton hesitated in the wake of his twin, who represents Australian team Jayco-AlUla, wondering if he should wait for Pogačar. Behind, the double winner of the Tour was wedged in the wheel of Vingegaard and three other Jumbo-Visma, including Wout van Aert, who ensured the pursuit.

With a gap of 10 to 15 seconds at five kilometers, the Slovenian finally told his teammate on the headset that he could run his race.

In the final inclination to the line, Adam let go of a grimacing Simon with half a kilometer to go.

“Maybe I saved some energy on the last ascent and he spent a bit more on the descent. That’s why I’m here with yellow. »

Third at 12 seconds, ahead of the dashing Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), Pogačar raised his arms as if he had just won, before falling into those of Yates, presented as the co-leader of the Emirati team .

“I just want to keep my feet on the ground,” warned Adam Yates. Tadej is the boss. He has shown in the past that he is the best in the world and I am sure he will do the same in the next few weeks. »

“We’re very close,” said Adam, who scored his first Grand Tour stage victory and was donning yellow for a second time after 2020.

“I’ve spoken to him literally every day for 10, 15, 20 years. But he obviously had a different preparation than mine and he trained alone while I was away with my team. »

Double stage winner in 2019, Simon Yates did not hide his annoyance at missing this unique opportunity to wear yellow for the first time.

“I’m happy for him, but at the same time, it’s disappointing for me,” he admitted to France Télévisions. But I have some left for tomorrow…”

A more polite way of saying that he would indeed be a pain in the ass…