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Yates heads home early after a successful Tour debut

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Simon Yates (Orica-GreenEdge) in the day's breakaway

Simon Yates (Orica-GreenEdge) in the day's breakaway (Image credit: Tim de Waele/
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Simon Yates rides home after a day in the break

Simon Yates rides home after a day in the break (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Simon Yates , Orica-GreenEDGE working hard to catch the two leaders.

Simon Yates , Orica-GreenEDGE working hard to catch the two leaders. (Image credit: Mark Gunter)

Orica-GreenEdge has withdrawn its rider Simon Yates from the Tour de France before the second rest day of the race, ending the Englishman's hopes of reaching Paris on his Tour debut.

Yates finished stage 15 between Tallard and Nîmes in a small group, 2:05 behind stage winner Alexander Kristoff (Katusha), and was lying 83rd overall. He twice went on the attack during the race – most notably on stage 14 to Risoul in the Alps – but the Australian team opted to send him home to safeguard his long-term development as a rider.

"It's been really good," said Yates. "It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, with the start in Yorkshire – almost home training roads, basically – and I think that's something I'll never really forget for the rest of my life. And since we got over to France, it's been non-stop, really; it really has been surreal. But a really good experience, and hopefully I'll be back in the years to come."

Yates and his twin brother, Adam, turned professional with Orica-GreenEdge this year, and Simon was a late call-up for the Tour after Daryl Impey tested positive for Probenicid.

Orica-GreenEdge directeur sportif Matt White gave Yates' Tour performance "ten out of ten".

"For a 21-year-old neo-pro, he contributed every day, [doing] everything he could do," White said on the team's website. "Making one break in the Tour de France is an achievement, but to make a couple, and the way he has gone about the whole Tour experience, is a great sign for the future.

"It would have been nice for him to have finished the Tour," White continued, "but it was a group decision that enough was enough, and we have a lot of goals for him in the second half of the season."

Asked to pick his favourite moment from his two weeks on the Tour, the Englishman, from Bury, didn't have to think too long.

"Well, racing-wise, I think yesterday [stage 14 on Saturday], when I was feeling really good, and got away in a breakaway – 17 of us, I think there were, in the end – and we just got caught on the final climb, about five kilometres from the finish," said Yates.

He added that being at the head of affairs is an experience that he'll take home with him, and one that should help him in the future.

"It's been a great opportunity," Yates said, "and I'm looking forward to coming back."