In 2016, it was Adam Yates standing on the Tour de France podium wearing the white jersey as the winner of the best young rider classification. Fast-forward 12-months, it was the turn of twin brother and Orica-Scott teammate Simon to claim the prize.
The 24-year-old Briton sealed the classification in the stage 20 Marseille time trial and rode into Paris on a custom black and white Scott in recognition of his classification win and seventh place overall. The 2017 Tour was Yates' first in which he was riding GC and backs up his sixth place and stage from the 2016 Vuelta a España.
"I think it's a great thing," said Simon after and he Adam became the first brothers to win the classification. "I hope it's one of those thing that we look back on and see it as a great achievement that we’ve won the white jersey as brothers back-to-back.
"I tried when I could to attack but also saved energy by staying in the wheels when it was the right time too. Whenever I have the opportunity to attack I like to race aggressive. I think it's great for the fans, but riding GC is also about picking the right time to do that and the right time to sit back and I am learning that."
Louis Meintjes (UAE Team Emirates) finished 2:06 minutes down on Yates in Paris while Emanuel Buchmann was a distant third in the battle for the white jersey at 27:07 minutes. Yates explained that his prologue in Dusseldorf put him on the front foot in the classification and once he took the jersey after stage 5, he simply treated the task at hand like any other race.
"A lot of things have contributed to this throughout the three weeks. I had a good prologue and it was actually earlier in the race when I made the most difference. Louis had a great ride and clawed a lot of time back on me but I managed to hang on," he said. "From the time I joined the team, we knew this is what we were aiming to do – riding for general classification. We approached it like any other race, with no pressure and I think that's the best way to do it."
Having initially been done to race the Giro d'Italia alongside brother Adam, Simon Yates described the delight of having the team riding in his service to deliver the win in Paris.
"The team did a fantastic job from the very beginning. They know me, they know how I ride and I want to thank them for everything they’ve done the past few weeks," he added.
Coming into the Tour de France, sports director Matt White had outlined the Orica-Scott ambitions of winning the white jersey and recording the best possible GC result with Yates and Esteban Chaves. While the team achieved its first goal, Chaves' Tour was affected by his knee injury and was unable to compete for the podium like he has at the Giro and Vuelta.
"Our Tour de France campaign has definitely been a success. It's Simon’s first time targeting the general classification at the Tour. We knew if we won the white jersey that it would put us in the top ten in the general classification because we know the talent of Meinjtes," White said. "The development that Simon has shown these last few weeks has been a big step up. We are proud with how all of the boys have ridden. We had a very specific focus and we weren't shy in stating our goals at the start of this Tour."
White added that having now finished top-ten overall in five consecutive Grand Tours with Chaves and the Yates twins, he is confident of further success at the Vuelta and into the future.
"It's been a gradual process for this team to learn to ride for the general classification over the past 18months. We have learnt in every Grand Tour and we've had a different group in each Grand Tour," he said. "We know that our leaders can podium and they are only going to get better. Now we also know that no matter who is at what race, we have different combinations to support them."
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