British Orica-GreenEdge rider Adam Yates to make Grand Tour debut in 2014 Vuelta a Espana
Adam Yates will follow in the footsteps of his twin brother Simon and debut in a grand tour this year as a neo-professional. Simon raced the Tour de France, abandoning on Monday, while Adam will race the Vuelta a España, August 23 to September 14.
“He’s shown that he’s capable of racing in high level races,” Orica-GreenEdge’s head sports director, Matt White told Cycling Weekly. “He’ll be definitely be given freedom to go into breakaways.”
The Australian team brought in Simon Yates for the Tour de France at the last minute and gave him similar freedom to escape. He rode free in two mountain stages, stage eight to La Mauselaine and Stage 14 to Risoul.
Though he wanted to continue, Orica pulled the plug on his Tour to save the 21-year-old’s strength. White did not say that they would cut Adam Yates’s Vuelta short, but that they would evaluate his progression.
“He’s certainly up for the challenge,” White said. “We’ll see how it goes with him. We’ll take it as a development opportunity and play it by ear.”
Orica signed the twins over last winter after an amateur career that included stage wins in the Tour l’Avenir and Tour of Britain. Already this year, Adam Yates placed fifth in the Tour of California and sixth in the Critérium du Dauphiné, and won the Tour of Turkey.
Simon Yates broke his collarbone in the Tour of Turkey and had a forced rest. It worked in his favour and allowed him to race the Tour de France.
Adam Yates took a break and trained at altitude in Livigno, Italy. He will come down in the next two days, train on the track to test his time trial position and race Italian one-day races Giro della Toscana and GP Industria & Artigianato this weekend.
“He’ll get more out of a period of the Vuelta than the rest of the programme that we’ve got going on at that point,” White continued.
“We are not going with a GC guy, so there’s freedom for stage wins. We have two objectives, on the flats with Matthews and then with the climbers like Adam.”
White had told Adam at the Dauphiné in June that a grand tour would not be on his menu in 2014, but that plan changed with the team’s reshuffling of race programmes. He said he is excited to race with him, just as he was at the start of the Tour de France with Simon Yates.
“Simon wanted to finish the Tour. He’s a racer, he’s hungry, he just wants to race. He’s disappointed that he didn’t win a stage,” White added. “I’d rather work with young guys like that than to have to try to encourage them to do certain things. I’d rather be holding back the reins than trying to motivate someone to be a bit more aggressive or to go to some races.”
The 2014 Vuelta a España kicks off in the south of France near Cadiz with a 12.6-kilometre team time trial in Jerez de la Frontera. After three weeks with eight summit finishes, a 10-kilometre time trial finishes the race in Santiago de Compostela.
Yates should have plenty of opportunities to show his aggressiveness and try for a stage victory.