With less than 24 hours to go before the Giro d'Italia finally kicks into action for real, Orica-Scott's Adam Yates is raring for the racing to get under-way, as he told Cyclingnews before a brief training ride on Thursday.
"Every race is different, it's a new challenge, I've done the Tour for the past two years so I just want to get started instead of being sat here on my arse," Yates said as he and the other Orica-Scott riders prepared to turn their legs a little in warm Sardinian sunshine on roads near their team hotel on the northwestern coastline.
After a promising eighth in Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Yates says he's been training quietly in the final countdown, back in his base in Andorra. "I've been at altitude, training's gone well and I'm not sick, so that's all good," he says.
Orica-Scott sports director Matt White has said that a top 10 and the white jersey of Best Young Rider would be an ideal result in Milan for the 24-year-old from Bury, Great Britain, but Yates is not willing to be drawn into a discussion of specific goals.
"I'd prefer not to put a target on it, at the end of the day I'm just riding the best I can every day, be it the Tour or the Giro or the Vuelta or some little one-day race. I just want to get as high as possible I can on GC." Asked if he'd prefer to go for stage wins or the GC, Yates said, "Stage wins tend to go with the territory. If you are up there on GC and the break's not getting too much time then you can get up there and win a stage, can't you?"
"But there's quite a lot of time trials this year so you've got to watch out for guys like [Tom] Dumoulin, Geraint Thomas. I think there's a lot of GC contenders, I'm not going to say this guy's the favourite or that guy, there's ten or 15 of us who are all more or less on the same level."
One such favourite who will be missing is Simon Yates (Orica-Scott) and White has also said that without his brother Simon on the race, Adam may have to "race more savvy."
"Kind of" is Adam's guarded reaction. "But it's the same in any race, whether he's here or not, the aim is still the same. It's a shame, but it's not the end of the world."
The first big challenge, apart from the usual fraught battle for position in the early days across Sardinia, will be Mount Etna on Tuesday.
"I'm glad there is a mountain stage early because I remember in one Tour I did there was 10 or 12 stages without anything in the mountains and that was a pain in the arse.
"So I'm happy to get stuck in early, whether the first final climb of a race is steep or steady, it doesn't matter. We race on pretty much the same roads and against the same guys as usual, day-in, day-out, so it's not like everything is changing. I'm just excited to get stuck in."
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