Simon Yates to kick off season at Ruta del Sol

Mitchelton-Scott's Simon Yates will begin his season at the 2019 Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista del Sol – also known simply as the Ruta del Sol – on Wednesday, and will be joined by his brother Adam, Esteban Chaves and Jack Haig at the mountainous five-day Spanish stage race.

While Adam Yates started his season in early February at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, where he took victory on the race's 'queen stage', Simon – winner of the 2018 Vuelta a España – will begin his build-up for May's Giro d'Italia at the Ruta del Sol, which his Mitchelton-Scott team have never participated at before.

Simon Yates' last completed race was that overall Vuelta victory in Madrid last September, as he didn't finish at either the Worlds road race or the Giro dell'Emilia, which was his last race in early October.

It's for that reason that Simon says he'll play a support role to Adam and their teammate Jack Haig, with the Australian having also ridden a good Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana to finish seventh overall.

Esteban Chaves, meanwhile, used the same race to return to racing for the first time since last May's Giro, having been struck down with mononucleosis in the meantime.

"I'm looking forward to starting racing again," said Simon Yates on his team's website. "It's a new race for me, so I'm looking forward to that, and I know some of the roads quite well around Granada, so that also helps. But really I'm just ready to start racing again.

"We have a few guys who have already raced, and who are going quite well, like Adam and Jack, so I'll just try to support them as much as possible," he said.

Adam, meanwhile, is hoping to build on his good form, and will no doubt relish having his twin brother in a domestique de luxe role.

"This will be my first time and the team's first time racing the Ruta del Sol, so it's always nice to experience something new, and obviously we're coming into it with a super-strong team," Adam said.

"Last week [at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana] went better than expected, so, after a week of recovery, it'll be nice to step back into racing and try to sustain the high level of success the team has already experienced so far this year," he said.

"We have a strong team," added sports director Laurenzo Lapage. "We have Jack, Adam and we also have Matteo Trentin for the sprints. For Simon, it's his first race, so he'll just want to get into the racing again without stress, and we'll always keep in mind that it's a preparation race for us.

"The first stage is one that could suit Adam with the steep finish," Lapage continued, "and then if he's in a good position, then of course we'll defend his position and try to bring him in a good way to win the race. But with there also being a time trial on the third day, we'll see.

"The first climb on the first day is so short, so there's not really a chance to put a lot of time into guys who are maybe stronger in the TT. Stage 2 could be a reduced bunch sprint, and stage 5 could also end up as a bunch sprint."

Mitchelton-Scott for the 2019 Ruta del Sol: Edoardo Affini, Esteban Chaves, Jack Haig, Mikel Nieve, Matteo Trentin, Adam Yates, Simon Yates

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