Speaking in Long Beach at the Tour of California's pre-race press conference, Mitchelton-Scott's Adam Yates said that the crash he had at the Volta a Catalunya in March is now but a distant, if painful, memory.
"It's been almost six weeks now since my crash," said Yates. "But I've been training well – training hard in Lake Tahoe with the team.
"It was a pretty serious crash. I had 10 days off the bike, so it was a pretty long stint of not training," Yates continued. "But as soon as I started riding again it all started to come back pretty quickly. Things are coming together, and I'm excited to be here. But we'll have to see out on the road how I am. Hopefully, the fitness is good and we can try to win some stages."
Under any other circumstances, the 25-year-old British rider would be a red-hot favourite for the overall victory in Sacramento on May 19.
Instead, with Yates playing down his chances until he can test himself once the racing starts, the team's focus may be on their sprinter, Caleb Ewan, who is in California to test himself against his main rivals ahead of his maiden Tour de France this summer.
"We've brought more of a sprints squad," said Yates, "but that doesn't mean we're not going to try to be competitive in the GC, and on pretty much every stage."
As for his twin brother, Simon, currently holding the pink leader's jersey at the Giro d'Italia, Adam revealed that the team had been getting up early while in the US to watch on TV how Simon is going back in Europe.
"And it's not just Simon; the whole team's riding well. It's been like that since the start of the year, in any race we've gone to. We want to be competitive.
"Realistically, I'd like to be top 10 here," said Yates. "There are a couple of tricky stages, and then obviously the time trial [on stage 4], which is not too easy for me.
"Then, after this, I'll go home for a week or 10 days, and then do the Critérium du Dauphiné, and start looking towards the Tour. The big goal for the season has always been the Tour, and the Tour of California is a good stepping stone for that."
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