Despite having the structure of his season turned on its head, Simon Yates has embraced the new opportunity and isn’t shying away from setting himself the target of a top 10 overall finish at the Tour de France.
The Orica-Scott rider was meant to ride the Giro d’Italia alongside his twin brother, Adam, but was pulled in the second half of April to give the team another option in July, with question marks hanging over the injured designated leader for the Tour, Esteban Chaves.
Arriving in France for the Critérium du Dauphiné, Yates has assumed the leadership role, partly to take the pressure off Chaves, who is making his comeback after a four-month absence, but he has had little trouble adapting to his improvised programme. The Tour de Romandie was swapped in place of a final pre-Giro block of altitude training and while a stage win and second overall might have suggested he was well on his way to his Giro peak, Yates explained his body doesn’t work in that way.
“I wouldn’t say I’m one of these riders that really comes up and peaks really strongly for one race. I’m pretty consistent year-round. My level doesn’t really change – ok, I might have a shit day, but I never have this big peak of huge form and then a big dip,” Yates told Cyclingnews at Orica-Scott’s hotel in Saint-Etienne on Sunday evening.
“Look at my results in 2015. And this year, for example, I started strongly – at Paris-Nice I won a stage, then at the Basque country I had my best numbers but not my best results, then you have Romandie. It’s always there or thereabouts. It didn’t really change that much for me. Ok, I could’ve done a couple of small things differently ahead of the Tour, but I would have been around the same mark.”
After Romandie, Yates spent the best part of three weeks training at altitude near his home in Andorra, turning on the TV on his return from his daily outings to check in on his brother’s progress in Italy. He arrived in France with the tag of outright leader for the Dauphiné, something he admits was designed to ease the pressure on Chaves, but nevertheless something he feels is fully deserved.
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