Simon Yates' Tour de France build-up gains momentum at Tour de Romandie

'I changed my mind on the Tour several times' says British climber

Simon Yates' Tour de France build-up continues at the Tour de Romandie with the British climber set to test his form on the key mountain stage on Saturday.

Yates' original race programme did not include Romandie but an injury to Esteban Chaves saw Orica-Scott realign their Grand Tour ambitions. Yates was moved off the Giro d'Italia squad earlier in April and will line up alongside Chaves in July. Adam Yates remains on the Giro d'Italia roster and will lead the team in Italy.

"It's all fairly last minute and there were a lot of discussions going around but it's not a problem. It's still early enough for me to change the programme without any problems," he told Cyclingnews at the Tour de Romandie.

Race programmes weren't the only changes for Yates in the last few weeks. Despite the riders and staff reaching consensus over the Grand Tour plans, Yates admitted that he changed his mind several times over whether to skip the Giro d'Italia in order to race the Tour de France. He also confirmed that both he and his brother Adam were given the option to drop the Giro d'Italia for the Tour de France.

"He was also asked," Yates told Cyclingnews.

"We talked about how things were going and over several weeks. It wasn't just a quick decision and a 'how do you feel?' It wasn't like that. Eventually we came to the decision that I would do it. There were various factors in it. I changed my mind a lot because I was going very well in the Basque Country and I thought I was in very good form before the Giro. It's also the 100th Giro so that's something disappointing to miss but I'm a young rider and I've got plenty of time to go back and do it."

Simon Yates teamed up with Chaves in last year's Vuelta a Espana and the pair were a thorn in the side of several teams. Yates won a stage and Chaves finished on the podium after some aggressive riding as a team. However the pair's ability to race well together didn't play into the final decision, according to Yates, who confirmed that he would also take on the Criterium du Dauphine in June.

"The Vuelta didn't really come into it but we do race well together. I don't see why we can't do that again at the Tour. As for training I'll just continue. I'm doing this race instead of the Giro and the mind-set has changed a bit so I can prepare for the Tour. But I'll go back to the usual programme of building up with the Dauphine. It's changed but it's not that much of a difference. It's a long way to go until the Tour but it should be good."

The change in roster doesn't mean a shift in ambition and Orica-Scott will be gunning for the overall and the white jersey in both the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France. Having Adam Yates leading the line at the Giro d'Italia simplifies tactics somewhat and his brother understandably believes that he can push the overall contenders.

"You could say there's one focus but we also work really well together. It's not as though there's going to be more pressure on him. I think he's going really well and I think he has a good chance actually."

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