Orica-Scott has announced that Simon Yates will skip the Giro d'Italia next month and instead line up for the Tour de France in July. Adam Yates remains on track to lead the team in the Giro d'Italia (May 5-28). The decision comes as Esteban Chaves continues his recovery from a knee injury that has disrupted his early season race programme.
Both Yates brothers had been set to lead Orica Scott at the Giro d'Italia but Chaves' injury has seen them shift their focus and they will now bring a 'two-pronged' attack to the Tour de France. Chaves picked up the knee injury earlier in the year and has not raced since February's Herald Sun Tour. He returned to training several weeks ago and recently told Cyclingnews that he was riding pain-free. However the loss of racing leaves the former Giro runner-up in a difficult position with the Tour just a few months away. Orica's decision leaves them with the hope of challenging for top honours in both Grand Tours, while also targeting the White jerseys in both races. Last year Adam Yates finished fourth in the Tour de France and wore the White jersey into Paris. Simon Yates won a stage of the Vuelta a Espana in 2016 and finished sixth overall.
“We are confident that Esteban has made a full recovery from his knee injury and is now back into his Tour de France preparation,” sport director Matt White said in a statement. “What we don’t know at the moment is how that time off and lack of racing will affect his performance over the three weeks.”
“The Tour de France is the biggest race of the year and we have been able to come up with a plan that will benefit our young GC riders, and the team ambitions for the season," White added.
“Simon will be given the opportunity to line up in his third Tour de France and the pressure on Esteban will be eased a bit as he prepares for his debut. Adam will continue in his preparations for the Giro in a few weeks time.”
“The new program will give Simon and Adam both opportunities to look at white jerseys this year - Adam at the Giro and Simon at the Tour de France. That is something we will certainly be aiming for as we ride for the best general classification results possible for our young climbers.”
At the start of the year Orica Scott announced that all three of their climbers could start the Vuelta a Espana in August. Today the squad clarified their position: "All three riders could still line up in the Vuelta a Espana later in the year, but any decision confirming this will be made following the first two Grand Tours."