Adam Yates: “It feels good to be going back to the Tour de France.”Fri 15 Dec 2017
Two years older, two more grand tours in the legs and with a return to the Tour de France set for 2018, former white jersey winner Adam Yates is feeling good about heading back to the ‘big show’.
There aren’t many teams in the professional peloton that can boast back-to-back best young riders at the Tour de France, but ORICA-SCOTT (to be known as Mitchelton-SCOTT in 2018) can do just that.
British twins Adam and Simon Yates both claimed the prestigious white jersey and top ten finishes in 2016 and 2017 respectively with Adam just pipping Simon to the bragging rights with fourth overall and now preparing for another bite at the cherry next season.
“It feels good to be going back to the Tour de France,” said Yates. “I am very excited about the challenges it will bring. The Tour de France will always be a special race for me having watched it growing up through to getting the opportunity to race it for the first time in 2015.”
“I am still developing as a rider and I do not feel any additional pressure after my result in 2016 and as always I will do my best and we will see how it goes. It was good to try a different race program last year, but there is no denying that I am looking forward to lining up at the start in Vendee next July.”
In the interim period since Yates’ success at the Tour de France in 2016, the 25-year-old has ridden both the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a Espana gaining more experience of Grand Tour racing. Do the Grand Tours contribute more in terms of strength benefits and development than other races?
“All racing helps me develop as a rider,” explained Yates. “It doesn’t mater if it’s a Grand Tour or a one-day event, it’s all positive. Although it is very difficult to the replicate the demands of racing a Grand Tour in a training situation.”
“Having ridden both the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a Espana in 2017 I feel that going forward that will be beneficial for 2018 and not only for the Tour de France, but for the other challenging races on the calendar too.”
The route for 2018 is the shortest one this century, but poses no less of a challenge than any of the previous editions. With the first week mainly for the sprinters and puncheurs of the peloton one could be forgiven in thinking that the climbers and GC hopefuls could take it a little easier.
We need to remember that this is the biggest race of them all, the Tour de France and nothing is ever that simple. Two medium mountain stages come on days five and six as route runs near the Atlantic coast through the Vendee - that could cause all kinds of issues with wind and rolling terrain - and then inland into the Loire region before heading north to tackle the iconic and potentially perilous cobbles of Roubaix.
The whole peloton will need to be switched on, including the climbers with three serious mountain stages in the high Alps coming directly after the first rest day followed by a brutal third week that heads southwest and into the mountainous Occitanie region and the Pyrenees.
“The route looks as challenging as ever,” continued Yates. “The Tour de France is always a very stressful race as everybody is out to perform at their highest level which makes it even harder.”
“There are a few challenging stages to begin with, especially stage nine over the cobbles from Arras to Roubaix, but I as always will have a strong team around me who will look after me before we get into the serious mountain stages.”
Photos courtesy of ©TDWsport.com