Adam Yates has set his sights on the Tour de France podium after confirming the race will be his main target this season.
Yates finished fourth in the 2016 Tour, winning the young riders’, but, on his return last year, finished 29th and blamed a failure to rehydrate properly for a poor performance on his favoured territory in the mountains.
With twin brother and team-mate Simon Yates planning to return to the Giro d’Italia in May, Adam will lead Mitchelton-Scott at the Tour, which starts in Brussels on July 6.
“I’m super excited to go back to the Tour this year. Last year, we made some mistakes that cost us and it was a big disappointment, so it’ll be good to go back and rectify that,” said Yates.
“Even though I’ve got earlier races coming up, in the back of my mind everything I’m doing is build up for the Tour.”
Mitchelton-Scott sporting director Matt White made clear Yates’s objectives are to be at the top end of the general classification fight.
“Adam showed in 2016 that he can mix it with the big boys at the Tour de France,” said White. “He had a very solid Giro in 2017 and even though last year didn’t go as we had planned, we are heading back this year with ambitions of Adam challenging for a spot on the podium come July.”
Yates started his season in Spain, finishing eighth overall in the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, where he won stage four, and then coming fifth in the Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol, where Simon took victory on the fourth stage and won the mountains classification.
Those stage wins have contributed to a total of eight for the team in the early part of the season, which the Australian-registered squad usually start strongly with so much racing on home soil.
“Already this year the team has been really committed in all aspects and it just goes to show because the results are flowing,” added Yates.
“Even though the Tour is a long way away at this moment and there’s a lot of races before we get there, it’s a good feeling to see the team working so well so early in the season.
“Obviously, 2016 was a highlight for me, riding almost two weeks in the white jersey and eventually finishing fourth on general classification was an amazing experience and confirmed to myself that I can ride at the highest level for three weeks.”