Despite seeing his GC chances in the last two editions of the Tour de France fall apart in the opening mountain stages, Adam Yates is keen on returning to the French Grand Tour in 2020 as he shows no signs of shying away from the challenge of racing for the general classification.
Yates fell away on the stage finish on the Tourmalet and is now targeting stage wins for Mitchelton-Scott. The Australian squad has already taken three wins courtesy of Daryl Impey and Simon Yates – twice – and Adam Yates will head into the Alps with the chance of rescuing his Tour de France.
At present, Adam Yates – who finished fourth in the 2016 Tour - has no explanation as to why he couldn't stay with the GC group on the Tourmalet stage. He told Cyclingnews that he had to use all of his attention on concentration on the rest of the race rather than looking back.
"This race hasn't gone to plan but now it's a case of switching mentality and targeting stages. That's difficult to do mentally when you put so much into the Tour but you can’t dwell on it," he told Cyclingnews.
Adam Yates has been consistent all season and looked good at the Critérium du Dauphiné before quitting the race on the final stage due to a minor bug. When asked if he saw this Tour performance coming, the British rider replied: "Not really. I've been good all season since and either won a stage or come close in all the races I've done. It's hard to say what's gone wrong but it's just one of those things. Maybe I ran out of steam or started the season too early. I don't know at this point."
This is the second straight season in which Yates has faltered at the Tour France. There are striking similarities between those two episodes but Yates pointed out that his preparation in 2018 and 2019 were different.
"Last year was a bit different. I was suffering a lot more with the heat and I was coming back from a broken pelvis. It was a bit different but at this point in time, I can't really give you a reason if I'm honest. It's frustrating that it's happened again at the Tour but it is what it is. If you have a bad day on Tourmalet, then you pay for it.
"I'm racing and winning against a lot of the same guys all year so it's hard to pinpoint one thing. I've got to tweak a few things and then hopefully I can come back to the condition and form that I know I've got. It's not really a concern but it's frustration. I've not wasted two years but I've not been able to make the most of my condition. I've still got plenty of years ahead of me. Maybe it's not next year or the year after that but I can hopefully come back."
Maybe the 2020 Tour de France but no 2019 Vuelta a España
The 2019 season is only half-way through and next year's routes and objectives have not yet been discussed internally at Mitchelton-Scott. However with Simon Yates and Esteban Chaves also in the mix, Mitchelton-Scott has several Grand Tour leaders for 2020. Adam Yates said he would be keen on returning to the Tour de France if the routes for all three Grand Tours were similar to this year's race and if he was given the first choice.
"It's not up to me. It's up to the management as they have the master plan. I'll let them decide. Probably the Tour again. Why not? I've messed up twice but maybe third time lucky."
What is definitive is that Adam Yates will not be returning to the Vuelta a España later in the season. He rode the Spanish Grand Tour last season and helped his brother seal the title but this time around he will dial back after what has already been a long year in the saddle.
"I've had a pretty big start to the season and if I prolong it I'll be in a box. I did it last year and supported Simon but this time Esteban is going to have a crack at it and he's got a good team around him. I'm not really needed," he concluded.
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