Adam Yates changes plans and heads to Vuelta a Espana

Mitchelton-Scott rider to support brother Simon's GC bid after disappointing Tour de France

After a disappointing Tour de France, Adam Yates will seek redemption in Spain as he changes his plans to join his twin brother Simon at the Vuelta a España later this month.

While Simon had always been scheduled to ride the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España this year, Adam was the designated leader for the Tour de France, with both set to play leading roles in the British team for the hilly World Championships road race in Austria in September.

Adam Yates' hopes of bettering his fourth-place finish from the 2016 Tour went out of the window, however, as he fell out of contention on the second day in the Alps. He bounced back to hunt stages in the Pyrenees and was on course to win stage 16, only to crash on the descent of the Col de Portillon.

On Monday, the Mitchelton-Scott team announced the 26-year-old, who hasn't raced since the Tour, would be sent to the Vuelta, insisting a "long-term focus" lay behind the decision. 

"We discussed post Tour de France the idea to race Adam as well. Obviously the Tour de France wasn’t what we’d hoped for Adam, but what it did highlight is that there are some things to work on, with him but also for the whole team in general," said sport director Julian Dean.

"The idea is to continue the development of Adam and Simon by taking them both to the Vuelta, giving them another Grand Tour experience and trying to target the areas that we haven't got right, including getting some consistency across the three weeks."

Simon Yates, who dominated the opening two weeks of the Giro before coming unstuck two days from the end, will once again lead the team's bid for the overall title at the Vuelta, and proved his form with second overall at the recent Tour de Pologne. The less fresh Adam Yates, meanwhile, will play a support role for his brother, while the team's third GC rider, Esteban Chaves, is absent through illness. The overarching aim, though, according to Dean, is to continue the general progress of the Yates twins, who recently turned 26. 

"Simon will be our designated leader and Adam will be going purely in a support role of Simon in the big picture," said Dean. 

"We want to get them through the first week as well as possible and look at the back end of the race; the stages in Asturias and Andorra [in the second and third weeks -ed] are really going to be where the results are made. Obviously we'd still like to aim for a podium at the Vuelta. That would be a great outcome for us, but if we look back at the past Grand Tours we’ve done these last two years, we’ve got some work to do and our overall objective is to make a good progression throughout the whole race.

"Our key performance indicator will be that we have come into the key period and Simon is able to maintain or if not gain position in those last 10 days, whether that be from 15th to eighth or eighth to fifth. As long as we get that progression, that’s really what we are aiming for. I think if we do that, the results will come for themselves, it’s just a matter of being patient and learning from what we have done in the past couple of years."

The Vuelta will be Adam Yates' seventh Grand Tour. He made his three-week debut at the 2014 Vuelta before turning his attention to the Tour de France in the two following seasons. Last year was the first time he and Simon doubled up, Adam riding the Giro and Vuelta, and Simon the Tour and Vuelta. 

"The Vuelta a España wasn’t originally on my program but together with the management we came to the decision that doing the Vuelta after the Tour would be another good chance to get some experience in riding multiple Grand Tours in one year," said Adam Yates. 

"It’s pretty difficult to replicate the fatigue of a Grand Tour in training so the opportunity of riding the Vuelta without the stress of riding GC will be a good step towards gaining more experience not just in racing over three weeks but also in following all the routines and day-to-day stuff that goes on in a Grand Tour. So far the recovery after the Tour has been going really well and things are looking good. I took a few days away from the bike and since then I’ve been slowly getting back into the routine."

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