Reactions: TdF Press ConferenceFri 6 Jul 2018
On the eve of the start of the 2018 Tour de France leader Adam Yates and sport director Matt White spoke to the media at the team's press conference. Hear what they had to say:
On the difference this year to previous years:
"Two years ago we didn’t actually come here with the goal of riding the GC. I just stayed out of trouble for the first bit and we were up there, I think second or third for a while, and that was before any big mountain stages.
"Last year I did the different program, the Giro and the Vuelta, for some more experience. That didn’t go as good as I wanted it to go, but again it’s just another experience, another year of training, another year of getting stronger and learning how everything works."
On stage 9 preparation:
"I have reconned it three times. To be honest, I rode the cobbles a bit in my under-23 racing years. It’s not new to me. Obviously, it’s different on the big stage and with experts, but to be honest it’s more about positioning in the wind. Once I’m on the cobbles, I’m pretty comfortable.
"We have a super strong around me, everyone is pretty much a big unit apart from myself and (Mikel) Nieve, so we have a good team to lead me into the sectors and we just have to hope for a bit of good luck.”
On inspiration from the Giro:
“You saw how the guys took it up, in the last two weeks they were up there fighting for stage wins every day. It shows when you all work together for one goal, you can do some nice things. We have to try to take that confidence and bring it here.”
On how Froome will be after the Giro:
“Hopefully he is tired! It was a pretty tough Giro, they race pretty much every stage so even with the extra week’s recovery it’s still going to take its toll. Last year after the Giro I was pretty tired and I didn’t race the Tour. Yeah, I hope he is tired.
On the team’s objectives:
“As you can see with the line-up we’ve got this year, our goals for the Tour de France are very much GC orientated and obviously, we are going to support Adam as well as we can right through the Tour from start to Finish.
“In saying that, there are stages that we want to target along the way. We’re not just a one-dimensional team. We have Adam in GC, but as Adam proved at the Dauphine he has the ability to win mountain stages, we have a great team’s time trial group here and there are other individuals, Daryl Impey for example, who are going to be able to go after stages along the way as well.
“We’ve got some pretty lofty goals but we have to aim high.”
“The form that Adam has shown right throughout the year, even with the accident he had in March, is obviously very pleasing for us. Adam was fourth here two years ago, he has ridden a few Grand Tours now, he has done this before.
“We’ve had Adam since the start of his career, and we’ve made some big in-roads with him in the last two years. Whatever happens at this year’s Tour de France it’s going to be great for our team’s development.”
On inspiration from the Giro:
“I think in general it’s been our best year ever and I think that has a general roll on effect with the whole organisation.
“It made another growing step for our organisation and the pleasing thing is we saw the results we had at the Giro and the only person from there that is here in Mikel Nieve. It shows the depth we have now, that we can sent two different teams and target the Giro and the Tour as well.
“It was definitely a positive. It was our most successful Grand Tour – five stage wins and to hold the jersey for that period of time. And, to race the way they did was as pleasing as anything else.”
On level of planning for first week:
“By lunchtime we will have checked out all the first nine stages physically, with video. And as a team we were up here Monday doing the Roubaix stage and Tuesday, the team’s time trial stage.
“I have seen the long-range weather forecast and it doesn’t look as bad as it could be up in this part of France. It looks quite calm, not to say it’ll be anything but nervous, but weather does have a massive effect on how we race. Wind and rain just changes the dynamic.
“I still think some teams have under estimated the first nine days, in the team’s they’ve brought here. We can’t control the weather but you can control how you look after your leader. Some teams have no choice, it depends on the team roster, but I think the first nine days will be crucial – to avoid problems, to take time when you can and I think the team’s time trial is a good opportunity, and to save energy for your leader.”