Adam Yates to target 2018 Tour de France

Orica-Scott, who will be known as Michelton-Scott from January 1, have confirmed their Grand Tour team leaders for the 2018 season, with Adam Yates returning to the Tour de France, while Esteban Chaves and Simon Yates will focus on the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a España.

The Australian WorldTour team has already confirmed that sprinter Caleb Ewan will make his Tour de France debut in 2018, targeting stage victories.

Adam Yates finished fourth in the 2016 Tour de France and won the best young rider's white jersey, marking him out as a potential future winner. He targeted the Giro d'Italia this year, finishing ninth before going on to finish 34th at the Vuelta a España, but will focus on the Tour de France in 2018.

"We've made it no secret that the next progression for us is to win a Grand Tour, while at the same time challenging our riders," head directeur sportif White explained in the team's announcement.

"With this in mind we have some exciting goals to chase across the board in all three Grand Tours, and that means stage wins and general classification targets.

"Adam is happy to go back to the Tour de France, after skipping it this year and taking on two Grand Tours for the first time. He will return to France with a big year under him this year and a lot more experience in the role of leading a team for general classification.

"We won't be the only team heading to the Tour with a world class sprinter and GC leader and I am confident we have a group of guys who can manage helping both Caleb and Adam in this two-pronged approach.”

The 2018 Tour de France will be Adam Yates' sixth Grand Tour of his career and his third ride in the Grand Boucle. "It feels good to be going back to the Tour de France and I am very excited about the challenges it will bring. The Tour will always be a special race for me having watched it growing up through to getting the opportunity to race it for the first time in 2015," Yates said.

Chaves and Simon Yates double up

Chaves and Simon Yates led the Australian team at the 2017 Tour de France but they switch with Adam Yates and Ewan and will target the Giro and Vuelta next season.

Simon Yates finished seventh and won the best young rider's white jersey at the Tour de France despite a mid-season change to his goals due to Chaves' knee injury, which kept the Colombian away from races from February to June. Chaves was not at his best at the Tour de France but finished 11th at the Vuelta a España. His season ended early after a high-speed crash at the Giro dell'Emilia that left him with a fractured shoulder blade.

Chaves finished second in the 2016 Giro d'Italia behind Vincenzo Nibali and seems suited to the Italian race.

"I love racing in Italy. Italy gave me the hardest moments in my career but also the most beautiful ones, so I am happy to go back to Italy to race," Chaves said.

"There's just 44 kilometres of time trialling and this was one of the reasons for the team's choice and my choice to do the Giro d'Italia. This year we learnt a lot. Myself and all of the team are really hungry now for next season."

Simon Yates doubled up in 2017, riding the Tour and the Vuelta, he will have a more targeted approach to the Giro and Vuelta in 2018.

"Simon handled the pressure of riding GC at the Tour de France incredibly well this year and went straight into his second Grand Tour in one season, the Vuelta," White said. "I think he really gained a lot from doing two Grand Tours and it will be great to see him at the Giro for the first time next year.

"With this programme, Esteban and Simon will have ample time to recover between the Giro and the Vuelta and we've used this template before with Esteban in 2016 and he came back very strong in the second half of the season. So no matter what the course looks like for the Vuelta, we are confident these two guys will be ready to get the job done."

Simon Yates is up for the challenge.

"To keep progressing as a rider I think you need to challenge yourself in different ways, and riding the Giro instead of the Tour de France is one of these ways. It will be an extremely difficult race and I look forward to the new challenge," he said.

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