Ambition remains but Adam Yates realistic about his Tour de France chances

Adam Yates wants to “keep things simple” in the Tour de France this year as he targets stage wins rather than the fight for the yellow jersey.

Thursday, 27th August 2020, 6:25 pm
Britain's Adam Yates pictured at the start of last year's Tour de France. Picture: AP/Thibault Camus.

The 28-year-old Lancastrian saw his general classification hopes frustrated in each of the past two Tours, but would have targeted the overall battle again this year if not for an illness which hit his preparations before he returned to racing at the Criterium du Dauphine earlier this month.

“In the last couple of years I’ve not had the ideal preparation and then we’ve gone into the race targeting GC and it’s not gone to plan,” said Yates. “I think it would be silly to do that again. I’ve been sick, it was quite a severe illness.

“Targeting GC is a big ask and if you’re not 100 per cent you’re going to be left behind. There are a lot of stages this year for the breakaway, and I think that there will be a lot of chances.”

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TEAMWORK: Team Ineos team riders with 2019 Tour de France winner Colombia's Egan Bernal. Picture: AP/Thibault Camus

Asked if his mentality would change if he found himself high in the standings as the race went on, Yates said: “I’m not really thinking about that. I’d rather just try to win a stage and see where it takes me.

“I don’t think we need to put any restrictions or any ambitions out there. I’ll just try to win a stage and keep it simple. From there we can do some good things.”

Since he finished fourth in the 2016 Tour and ninth in the 2017 Giro d’Italia, things have not gone to plan for Yates in the Grand Tours.

He was hampered by a broken pelvis suffered before the 2018 Tour, while he felt he raced too much before last year’s race as he faded in a tough third week to finish 29th overall.

But his ambitions remain in the sport’s biggest races, a factor in his decision to leave Mitchelton-Scott for Team Ineos at the end of the season.

The move will see him split from his twin brother Simon, who has signed a new two-year contract with the team where they both signed as neo-pros back in 2014.

“I started my career here, six or seven years ago,” said Yates. “It wasn’t an easy decision but I’m happy with what I chose. I made my mind up a couple of weeks ago and it moved pretty quickly.”

Mitchelton-Scott head sports director Matt White confirmed he had hoped to keep Adam, but said “sometimes the jigsaw puzzle doesn’t fit” when it comes to budgets.

But Yates insisted the impending split would do nothing to affect him for the remainder of this season, and suggested the Tour might not be his last three-week race with the Australian squad.

“There’s still the Vuelta at the end of the year, that might happen but the team knows it doesn’t matter what happens, I’m always going to try my best,” said Yates.

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Thank you, James Mitchinson. Editor.