Mitchelton-Scott's Simon Yates summed up his eighth place overall at the Giro d'Italia on Sunday – 7:49 behind winner Richard Carapaz (Movistar) – as "heartbreaking". The British climber, who won last year's Vuelta a España, said that, although he was disappointed, he would return to the race to try again.
"It was a very disappointing Giro for me, personally, although disappointing isn't the right word. Heartbreaking is more accurate," Yates said on his team's website.
"I put a lot of effort into this – a lot of time – and it has just not come together the way I was expecting.
"That's OK," he continued. "There's always another Giro, another year, and I will come back at some point and try again. You can always learn and we will do that going forward."
Yates was leading the Giro last season when Chris Froome attacked on stage 19, which went over the Colle delle Finestre, just two days from the finish of the race in Rome, putting Yates in trouble – losing almost 40 minutes – with Froome winning the stage and the overall title. But victory for Yates at the Vuelta a España in September appeared to erase that disappointment, and he went into this year's Giro as one of the favourites, with the confidence of having won a Grand Tour under his belt.
"The team was great – for sure one of the best I have ever experienced in a Grand Tour," said Yates. "It was really on the money from day one, and for the whole three weeks the guys were there for me. I was never alone at any moment, whether it was on the flat with the bigger guys or one the climbs with the climbers. They were really amazing."
Head sports director Matt White added that he thought the team could walk away from the race with their head held high.
"The boys committed from day one to day 21, and that's all you can ask for," said White. "It wasn't through a lack of trying, in preparation, in the way we raced or the way we went about things for the three weeks.
"It's a Grand Tour, and they're tricky. Our GC riders are young – especially the Yates brothers at 26 years of age. You can't win every Grand Tour you start. Professional cycling is a very competitive world," he said.
"We had a stage win [Esteban Chaves], four second places, we animated the race, and we made the race on multiple stages to try to claw back stage wins and to try to keep Simon in a high general classification position.
"I am nothing but proud of the boys for the way they committed to the three weeks," White said.