Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange) could race both the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France next year with the British climber possibly set to compete for the maglia rosa before turning his attention to stage hunting in July.
The team have yet to finalise any of their plans for next year as they are still waiting to see the full Vuelta a España route in December. Still, with only 26km of time trialing – the fewest TT kilometres in the race since the 1960s – and a highly mountainous second half, the Giro d'Italia route looks perfect for Yates and a host of other pure climbers.
“I really like the route but we’re still waiting on the details and we want to see the GPX files but if there’s one steady feature to the Giro it’s that it’s always got a brutal back end,” head sport director at Team BikeExchange, Matt White, told Cyclingnews.
“You know what you get with the Giro. It’s always the most demanding of the three Grand Tours when you talk about the metres of climbing and some of the stages are huge, and you’re talking about 5,000 metres of climbing on some days. The number getting thrown around right now is that there’s 51,000m of climbing in the entire race ... We’re preparing for a tough race.”
Yates raced the Giro and Tour combination in both 2019 and 2021. The 29 year old finished eighth and then third overall in the Giro and won two stages at the 2019 Tour de France. He left the Tour empty-handed and early this year after a crash on stage 13, before the race reached the Pyrenees and some of his best chances for a stage victory.
The 53km of time trials at the Tour de France, along with the cobbled stage, are likely to deter a number of high profile climbers from risking their 2022 Grand Tour ambitions. The landscape of the Giro, at least at basic level, is certainly tilted more towards the climbers and especially the ones who can make the difference in the final week.
“It’s very much a climbers race but even when the Giro has had about 50-60km of time trialing in it, it’s still been a race for the climbers, realistically,” White added.
“The best climbers, at the end of the day rise to the top in the Giro because the stages are just so demanding.”
White would not specifically say which way his team was leaning when it came to deciding the programmes of Yates and their other GC hopeful, Lucas Hamilton, but logic would suggest Yates would aim for the maglia rosa before concentrating on stage wins at the Tour once more.
The lack of a time trial in the middle of the Giro appears to be a real incentive.
“What we’ve seen in the past is that with that time trial in the middle they’ve hurt some of the non-time trial specialists. It’s a big effort to race three time trials in the Giro,” White said.
“We’re still discussing it at the moment but it’s a race that he loves, and he likes the Tour de France too. It’s highly likely that if see him at the Giro then we’ll see him at the Tour as well but we still need to discuss things and of course we’ve still not seen the Vuelta route yet. We’re in the process of deciding our plans but it’s certainly a nice route for the climbers.”
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