The 27-year-old Briton will have the backing of a strong Mitchelton-Scott squad that includes Jack Haig, Esteban Chaves, Mikel Nieve, Damien Howson and Tsgabu Grmay. Chaves won Il Lombardia in 2016 and Haig impressed during Wednesday's Milano-Torino, when he helped Yates finish third behind major Il Lombardia rivals Michael Woods (EF Education First) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).
Yates has endured a frustrating 2019 season but has never lost hope of turning things around. He won a stage at the Volta a Catalunya and the Tour of the Basque Country in a solid spring but has raced sparsely since struggling to compete for the overall classification of the Tour de France.
However, he won the key mountain stage of the recent CRO race in Croatia and then looked strong at Milano-Torino. The season is almost over but Yates is on a late roll.
"I've shown in the last week, with my win in Croatia and then here, that the form is there. I just need my legs to stay go for Saturday," Yates told Cyclingnews.
"It's always hard to be in form at this time of year but I've been working hard and trying to win whenever possible. Hopefully the results will keep coming right to the end."
Yates and Haig used their strength in numbers on the climb to Superga at Milan-Torino, and Mitchelton-Scott are hoping to do the same at Il Lombardia. They want to have four riders in the key selection that is expected to form on the steep slopes of the Muro di Sormano. Chaves and Neive will likely control any attacks on the Civiglio so that Yates and Haig can be in any final attacks before and on the final climb of San Fermo della Battaglia overlooking the finish in Como.
Yates was happy with his performance at Milano-Torino but knows Il Lombardia, with its major climbs, testing descents and 243km race distance, is much more demanding. "Lombardia is a race I’ve struggled to find my best condition for in the past," Yates admitted.
"It’s usually my last race on the calendar and after a long season it’s sometimes hard to really hit this part of the season in top shape. But after my last couple of races I feel like the condition is there and hopefully this is the year I can play a part in the finale. I just have to put it out on the day."
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