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Simon Yates to target Giro d'Italia and Tokyo Olympics in 2020

Simon Yates and Adam Yates on the 2019 Tour de France.
Simon Yates riding alongside twin brother Adam at the 2019 Tour de France (Image credit: Getty Images)

Simon Yates will start his 2020 season at the Tour Down Under and will bypass the Tour de France, opting to instead target the Giro d'Italia and Olympic Games in Tokyo as his main goals for the year.

The Brit, racing his seventh season with Mitchelton-Scott, will kick off his campaign with a trio of Australian races – the Tour Down Under, the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, and the Jayco Herald Sun Tour.

Later in the year, Yates' first major goal will be the Giro, a race he led for almost two weeks in 2018, winning three stages along the way. Last season he finished eighth overall, but recovered from the "heartbreaking" performance to win two stages of the Tour de France in July, before ending his season in August.

With the Olympics also on his mind, and with the road race coming a week after the end of the Tour de France, Yates says that he feels heading to the Giro is the best option for a Grand Tour assault in 2019.

"Last year I just felt I never really got to the level that I expect of myself," he said in a team press release. "I want to go back in the best shape possible and try again. That, and along with Olympics coming so close to the Tour de France this year; I believe the best way to approach the Olympics would be to do the Giro.

"The 2020 route is a very traditional course with a lot of time trialing kilometres, and many high altitude mountain passes. We will have to prepare for anything to happen."

While the 2020 Giro will be his third in a row, Yates has yet to race the Tour Down Under. His Mitchelton-Scott teammate, the versatile South African Daryl Impey, has won the race in each of the last two years.

"As a team, the more options the better for the Tour Down Under," he said. "This race has been settled on more than one occasion on bonus seconds so everything will count.

"Daryl has found the winning formula and so we know how to approach the race. I will be there to support him or take my chance as they arise. Of course, the more climbing the better for myself personally, but regardless, I think as a team we can go in there fully focused to win.

"I have always wanted to do the Aussie summer. Of course, riding for an Australian team there is more pressure, but I really enjoy getting stuck into racing and giving it a good go. With these being our home races, the boys are super motivated to give everything."

Yates joins a host of stars kicking off their season in Australia. Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale), Richie Porte and world champion Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo), Michał Kwiatkowski (Team Ineos) all down to race the Tour Down Under, while European champion Elia Viviani (Cofidis) is another likely participant.

The 2020 Tour Down Under runs from January 21-26.