Simon Yates: I want an aggressive Tour de France

Orica-Scott rider sets sights on the white jersey

Simon Yates and Esteban Chaves spearhead Orica Scott's Tour de France bid, with the dynamic duo promising to leave no stone unturned as they look to make the race as aggressive as possible.

The pair rode together at the Vuelta a España in 2016, with both climbers making the top 10 and Chaves finishing on the podium. Although neither rider has enjoyed a perfect build-up to the Tour, they will look to leave their mark on a parcours that suits their characteristics.

Yates is looking to break into the top 10 and challenge for the white jersey, while Chaves arrives in Dusseldorf as something of a wildcard given his lengthy lay-off earlier in the season due to injury.

"I think that the course is good for me. I like to race and I like aggressive racing," Yates told the media at his team's press conference in Dusseldorf.

"I think that the course could play into my hands. It depends on how the other teams treat it because it's a different Tour to normal and a few surprises might happen, but we have to see. I'm ready for it."

With just three summit finishes in the race, riders will have be at their inventive best in order to create further opportunities to open up the GC battle, but if Orica keep to their word, and ride on the front foot, then they could play a significant part in the race's outcome. They arrive in Germany without a sprinter and with the entire team backing Chaves and Yates.

"That was the first attempt to ride GC," Yates said when asked about how he and Chaves linked up last year's Vuelta, "and with no expectations, so to come out of there with a top ten was pretty awesome. I would like to continue that and back that up ,not to prove anything, but show that I can do it again. That all starts with the prologue because you can't really have any bad days."

Yates' participation in the Tour only came after Chaves missed most of the spring due to injury. Originally, Yates and his brother Adam were slated for the Giro d'Italia with Chaves the sole leader for the Tour. However, in April, Matt White, conscious that Chaves was running out of time to prove his fitness, approached the Yates brothers and offered one of them the chance to ride the Tour. White left the invitation open but hoped that Simon would be the one to take up the challenge after he had missed the 2016 race due to a doping violation.

"Firstly it was just an idea. I took some time to make up my mind because I was already going super well in the Basque Country and that's when the discussions really started. During that race I had some of the best numbers that I've ever had and from there I went to Romandie and did great there. It was a difficult discussion but my brother went to the Giro and would I have made a difference being there? I'm not to sure, but I think I've made a good decision," Yates said.

According to Yates, missing last year's Tour de France had no bearing on his decision to race the Tour this time around.

"That wasn't really anything to do with it," he told Cyclingnews.

"I really didn't think of it like that. I was going to go to the 100th Giro, a pretty prestigious event, and a race I'd not done before. Now it's an open race here and it's not an opportunity that I could miss. There aren't many time trial kilometres and I hope there's aggressive racing.

"That was a difficult period and frustrating but I worked really hard to come back in a good shape, which I think that I did. Now it's history."

Adam Yates picked up the white jersey and fourth overall in the Tour last year but Simon has set the bar at finishing in the top 10, for now, but the white jersey remains a genuine goal.

"I'd be happy with top 10 but if I fall short then that's also okay. This is my first Tour de France and it's different to the Vuelta, which is a lot more relaxed. I'm going to give it full gas and we'll see."

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