21-year-old British rider hoping to make mark in mid-section of race as it heads back to France
“I’m slightly disappointed I couldn’t make it right to the finish in Sheffield and have a bit more but it’s the Tour de France and it’s the biggest and hardest race we do all year,” Yates said.
“I’m quite ambitious and I like to do well. I’m not too hard on myself but it’s just one of those things, I’ll just have to move on and hopefully I’ll have another day.”
Orica called the 21-year-old neo-professional to race the Tour de France after the British national championships. He had recovered from a broken collarbone in the Tour of Turkey, where his twin brother Adam won the overall classification.
Head sports director, Matt White explained that Yates’ broken collarbone came at a good time since it forced him to back off and rest before returning to competition. Adam, instead, raced from the Tour de San Luis in January through the Critérium du Dauphiné in June.
Simon Yates explained that he thought he could do better than he did in the stage to Sheffield, which insiders referred to as a mini Liège-Bastogne-Liège and ran over home roads.
“I was expecting too much from myself maybe but I’m a neo pro and thinking I can come in and win some stages, I don’t know,” Yates said.
“Maybe I don’t have the racing legs and racing kilometres, it’s the main thing coming back from injury since I’ve only raced the Tour of Slovenia and the nationals. A lot of others raced the Critérium du Dauphiné or the Tour de Suisse, maybe that sort of showed towards the final in Sheffield. But I would’ve really liked to be up there towards the final and helping out.”
Yates’s job in the Tour de France is to help Simon Gerrans and the Aussie team’s other experienced riders. However, White explained that if the opportunity arrives the rider from Bury may race for himself. They are targeting stages seven through 12, after the race covers the Paris-Roubaix stage on Wednesday.
“All the medium mountain days are really important for us. Until that point, I’ll fly low and save energy,” Yates continued.
“I spoke about it with Matt, that hopefully, the further into the Tour de France, the better I get. I’m fresher and that will serve me for the second part of the race, as long as I don’t get too knackered and blow!”