While some British cycling fans maybe disappointed not to see Adam and Simon Yates at this year’s Tour de France, the twin brothers are happy to follow a more carefully planned career trajectory that sees them ride the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana in 2017 as they continue to develop and hone their Grand Tour ability.
Adam and Simon, who will turn 25 on August 7, have been professional riders since 2014 and have already confirmed their talent with a series of results and victories. However, the twins from Lancashire, and the Orica-Scott team management, are taking a long-term view of their careers.
“The Tour is the biggest race we race, but we are still young riders,” Simon Yates explained in an interview published on the team’s website. "It’s good to experience something else. I experienced the Vuelta last year and it was great, and I want to experience the whole calendar.
“The team really understand us as riders," ,” Simon Yates said. "They understand that we are young, that it takes time to develop into GC riders and build up that endurance to last for three-weeks. Because of that, the results have been good, but there’s still not a lot of pressure to get results. They understand that we are young and that we want to do well. We don’t need motivation to go for big results and that goes a long way to preparing us as riders.”
Adam and Simon Yates will face some serious competition at the 100th edition of the Giro d’Italia, with Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb), Geraint Thomas (Team Sky), Tejay van Garderen (BMC), Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), Fabio Aru (Astana) and Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) all due to line up in Sardinia on May 5.
However they remain ambitious.
“It will be pretty awesome to experience the 100th edition (of the Giro d’Italia),” Simon Yates said. “I’m sure it is going to be something special, and I think that’s one of the reasons so many big names are turning up. That will make it a harder challenge, but bring it on.”
Adam Yates is not afraid to aim for at least a spot on the final podium in Milan.
“The 100th edition gives the Giro some big prestige this year," he said. "If we can get as close to the podium as possible, that is the aim. There is a lot of time trialling and a lot of big names but we are putting the work in, we are working hard and we will see how it goes.”
Two Grand Tours
Orica-Scott has thought carefully about its Grand Tour goals and held back from making an announcement during the winter. The team confirmed today that Esteban Chaves would target the Tour de France, while Adam and Simon will make their debut at the Giro d’Italia. All three will then ride the Vuelta a Espana, with the plan for the Yates brothers to target the overall classification.
It is a logical strategy that balances the riders' ambitions and helps all three develop for the future. Chaves will finally get a taste of the Tour de France after finishing second at the 2016 Giro d’Italia and third at the Vuelta a Espana, while the Yates brothers will ride two Grand Tours in the same season, laying down the foundations for improvement and perhaps a shot at the Tour de France in 2018. All three recently extended their contracts with the Orica-Scott team until 2018.
Adam Yates has ridden the past two editions of the Tour de France but is ready to double up this season.
“Two Grand Tours is something I have never done and it’s a new challenge,” Adam Yates explained. “I have ridden the Tour now for the past couple of years and even my first year as a professional, I rode the Tour program without doing the Tour, so I think a change is good and a new challenge is good. Whether we can get the same result and do the same performance across two Grand Tours in a year, that’s what we will find out, but we are looking forward to that challenge.
“Everyone always says when you start doing more volume, especially with two Grand Tours, you get a lot more endurance and fitness and it helps you build for the year after,” Adam Yates said. “By doing two (Grand Tours) this year, we can work again getting more experience and go into next year even stronger.”
Simon Yates tested positive for Terbutaline on the final stage of the Paris-Nice last March after the team doctor failed to apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) for his asthma inhaler. The suspension meant he missed out on possible selection for the Tour de France, where Adam finished fourth overall and was the best young rider, but Simon bounced back to win a stage at the Vuelta a Espana and played a vital tole in Chaves' third place overall.
“From a purely physical standpoint, I think this year can really benefit me for the future,” Simon Yates said. “It’s a big load to do two Grand Tours, and ever since I have been a professional, I have only done one Grand Tour per year. I really think it will help massively for the future as I progress as a rider.”
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