British rider taking it day by day
Adam Yates capped a breakout week by pulling on the turquoise jersey of the winner of the Tour of Turkey in Istanbul today, yet he insists it won't make him set race targets this season.
It has been a whirlwind eight days for the 21-year-old neo-pro. Early in the 184km stage 3 - the race's toughest day - his twin brother and designated Orica leader, Simon, crashed and broke his collarbone. Adam immediately assumed the mantle of team leader and as race approached the summit finish that day, he was the only rider capable of following Rein Taaramae's (Cofidis) powerful attack. Though the Estonian road champion gapped Yates at the line, it was only by six seconds.
And on stage 6, it was Yates' turn to put the pressure on his rival. Showing impressive explosiveness, he attacked late on the final climb to the House of the Virgin Mary above Ephesus, and, despite a desperate chase from Taaramae, Yates claimed the seven seconds he needed to pull on the race's turquoise jersey.
It's been a highly assured performance for one so young. Just last year, however he took three stage podiums at the U23 Tour de l'Avenir and finished second overall. Yet Yates is determined to keep a lid on his ambitions and expectations. No matter how good today's result is and what it may indicate for the future, he's going to take his neo-pro season "day by day."
He's scheduled to start the Tour of California next week, but "I'm not sure who [from the team] is going," he admitted in the press conference after today's stage.
"I might be working or going for a stage win. I'm young and not really going for any targets. I go into races looking for an opportunity and if an opportunity comes around I'll pick it up," he said.
Nor will he allow his mind to wander to what races he may set his mind to. "You've got to be realistic and hopefully if I improve like I want to and I put the hard training in, who knows?"
While he had no qualms being the protected leader out on the road - "you don't really do anything until the last couple of kilometres," he modestly dissembled - it's the media commitment he disliked. "You guys got a lot of questions and I don't know what to say sometimes," he said candidly.
There'll be time for him to grow into that role. And he may end up sharing the limelight with his brother, Simon. "I would say we're pretty similar riders," Adam said. "He was going really well after Tour of the Basque Country so he was the choice to be leader.
"Every time he's going for a stage or the overall, I'll be there or there abouts so we've always got a plan B when we ride together," he said.
But for now, Yates said he hopes his form will hold a while longer. "I knew I had some pretty decent form coming into this race and when you're going well - you've always got a chance. Hopefully, in the next few weeks, the form will continue and hopefully I can keep winning," he said.
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