Adam Yates (Orica- BikeExchange) kept his cards close to his chest throughout this year's Tour de France and the habit that served him well in July was in full force one more after the 2017 Tour route was presented in Paris on Tuesday.
Peppered with questions over the route, the 24-year-old, who rode to fourth in Paris this season, kept his options open and preferences for next year's calendar free.
"I've only just seen the route so it's hard to comment. From this small snapshot, it looks like it could be a bit better next year, compared to this year with less time trialling and a couple of tough climbs. Now I'll go home and I'll have a good look at the stages," he told Cyclingnews.
The limited number of time trial miles, a sprint-friendly first week that should avoid crosswinds, and the mountain ranges that litter the 2017 Tour de France certainly count Yates' favour. However, Orica is team with options when it comes to Grand Tour ambitions. In Adam, his brother Simon and Esteban Chaves, it has three of the most talented young climbers in the sport and with the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana yet to announce their routes, the squad, and Yates have time to plot their collective futures.
"We'll go away after all the presentations of the Grand Tours and if there's one that's best suited to me then I'll go there. The Tour is a special race and I'd love to come back but it's not essential next year, because I'm still young. We've many years to race the Tour. If it comes out that there's no time trialling in the Giro then we'll go there. It's hard to say right now."
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This year, of course, was a breakthrough for Yates, who rode beyond his years to come within a whisper of Tour de France podium place. The white jersey was also taken, along with a top-ten in the Criterium du Dauphine.
"The year has been super. If you'd told me at the start that I'd finish fourth in the Tour and twenty seconds off the podium… I don't know about you, but I think that's a pretty good season for a 23-year-old. I always knew that I could fight with these big guys. I've done it quite often in one-week races but doing it over three weeks is an entirely different story. I wouldn't say that it's opened my eyes but it's given me that confidence to do it again."
Results in the second half of the year may have been hard to come by buy Yates and his brother both signed contract extensions at Orica-BikeExchange, a decision that will tie them both the team that turned them professionals for the next few seasons.
"Give me a reason to change," Yates offered up when asked if there had been interest from elsewhere for his signature.
"They've given me an opportunity and the team have supported me from the beginning. From the start there was a plan to progress and ride GC at Grand Tour. I don't see any reason to change and hopefully the future is bright."
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