Questions as to how holding the top position will affect his and Chaves’ status in the team have been doing the rounds of the press room ever since Yates powered across to Chaves late on stage 6’s ascent of the Etna for a 1-2 finish.
But after stage 7, 24 hours after he became the fourth Briton ever to lead the Giro d’Italia, Yates continued to stick to the team’s default position on the leadership question, saying that both he and Chaves – who wore the pink jersey two years ago, finally finishing second overall – will both continue to enjoy protected rider status inside the squad.
“We are riding with two leaders and that’s the situation now, too,” Yates commented in his post-stage press conference. “We have the aim of winning the race, and I don’t see why we shouldn’t continue like that.”
Whilst the leadership question will probably remain a question of debate until the race decides it one way or another, Yates’ first day in pink and as a Grand Tour leader was, he said, straightforward.
“It was a bit nervous at first, but with the breakaway going soon, it was quite easy, we could settle down and relax. It was a very special day.”
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