Simon Yates Wins Vuelta al Pais Vasco Best Young Rider Classification

Sat 12 Apr 2014

ORICA-GreenEDGE’s Simon Yates won the best young rider classification at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco. The neo-pro started stage six in 16th place overall. Time trialing to 17th place on the final stage, Yates jumped up to 12th overall, 3’07 behind race winner Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo).  

“The Tour of the Basque Country is the hardest and most important race in Spain after the Tour of Spain,” said Sport Director Neil Stephens. “It’s very intense and very difficult. When I was a bike rider, teams often sent their Tour de France teams here, and we were all eager to show our stuff. It hasn’t changed much. The level of racing here is really quite high.”

“The best young rider last year finished the race in around 40th place,” Stephens added. “To have Simon not only win the best young rider category but to also finish in 12th overall is really quite good. We’re very happy with his result. It’s a real positive sign for the future.”

Tony Martin (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) stopped the clock at 38’33 on the hilly 25.9 kilometre course to win the stage on the final day of racing. Yates’ effort was within two minutes of the multi-time time trial world champion. Crossing the line in 40’20, Yates slotted into 17th place by stage end.

“The recon went well,” said Stephens. “The warm-up went well. He paced himself well. Simon is a very methodical sort of guy, which lends itself to having a good result in a time trial. There were a couple of minor things that we could do better in the future that may help him improve. He’s only very young, and there’s still a lot of time for him to learn. Simon has done a fantastic job not only today but all week.”

Yates’ results proved to be the icing on the cake of a successful week of racing for ORICA-GreenEDGE in Basque Country, which included a stage win by Michael Matthews.

“We came here to win a stage,” said Stephens. “We did that. I think we were present in every other stage. We had riders in the break and on the attack. We thought maybe we would do something in the overall with Pieter Weening, but we ended up supporting Simon instead.”

“We’re still getting to know Simon, and he’s still getting to know us,” Stephens added. “He’s showing an unbelievable amount of promise for future. He’s capable of winning stages and doing fantastic rides on the general classification. The other guys have shown their capabilities in supporting him. By the end of the week, the team was firing on all cylinders. The future is bright.”