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“Where I need to make up some ground is perhaps around my race knowledge. Things like my positioning in the bunch and perhaps my concentration because at times in races I like to switch off and take it easy."

Photo: A.S.O.




19.10.2014 @ 14:55 Posted by Joseph Doherty

Simon Yates has spent his neo-pro year adapting to the WorldTour in the biggest races, including the Tour de France and riding to a superb 12th on GC in the Basque Country.


Both Simon and twin brother Adam had great 2013’s in the U23 ranks and were expected to perform in their neo-pro years and neither failed to impress, with Adam winning two races and a GC as well as finishing the Vuelta and looking strong in the Dauphine and Clasica San Sebastian. Simon rode the world’s biggest race as well as riding races like Paris-Nice and Gent-Wevelgem.


“I started really well in Paris-Nice and the Basque Country and if I’m honest that’s where I think I was going the best. In Paris-Nice I was working for others at the start but towards the end I was getting a few chances of my own and I was up there,” Simon told Cyclingnews after bringing his season to a close at the Tour of Beijing.


“Then I went to the Basque Country and was mixing it with the overall contenders. From what I’ve heard that’s one of the harder races that we do outside of the grand tours.”


Simon and Adam endured contrasting fortunes at the Tour of Turkey, with Adam taking a stage and the GC while Simon broke his collarbone. But this gave Simon the break he needed to take in all that happened to him in his first six months as a pro and he was back in time to be a surprise pick for the Tour.


“Because of the collarbone break I at least came into the Tour a little bit fresh. Adam was going really well at the time with his results and on that basis he could have probably gone to the Tour but he’d had a really packed season already with races so with a few circumstances in my favour I ended up going. It was a huge experience for me,” Yates said.


What made it even more special that he was one of only four Brits to start the race in Britain.


“At the start of the year when I was in Australia with the team and talking about schedules, the Tour de France wasn’t even mentioned. A Grand Tour wasn’t even on the agenda and I was coming home to watch the Tour on the roadside. I was planning where to watch it with my parents, so the call up came as a big shock.”


“The biggest thing I learnt was where to save yourself in the Grand Tours. In week-long races you’re pretty much full gas every day but for the Grand Tours you can’t burn all your matches in the first couple of days because if you do that you’ll be pretty rough in the second and third week," he said.


“It’s about picking your chances when you can, and trying to win, but also saving your reserves when you need to. So I was in the break on a few stages but between those days I’d either be on bottle duty or I’d just be taking it easy and waiting for the next chance.”


Simon showed he could ride well in stage races in 2013, winning a stage in the Tour of Britain as well as finishing third overall and he took two Tour de l’Avenir stages before finishing tenth on GC.


“Personally I wanted to come into this year and win one race. Any race, whether it was a smaller one-day race or whatever, I wanted the opportunity to go for the win because I didn’t want to forget what it felt like to win. Does that make sense? Some people, if they don’t win for a few times their confidence can get a bit low and you don’t get that feeling back if you’re not there fighting at the end of a race. I’m an ambitious rider so I like to put my hand up and say I want to have a go, but at the same time there was no pressure to get results. It was all on me.”


Despite not achieving his first win, it is not far away and he will work over the winter to ensure he begins 2015 in the same form he left 2014 in.


“I don’t think I need to work on too much in the off-season,” he says, before admitting that his style of racing does have one shortcoming that can be improved on.


“Where I need to make up some ground is perhaps around my race knowledge. Things like my positioning in the bunch and perhaps my concentration because at times in races I like to switch off and take it easy. Something could be happening up the road and that’s something to improve on, but it’s not something you can really work on during the off season. The winter I had last year was really good and I’ve no plans to change something that’s not broken.”


He hasn’t been given his 2015 ace schedule but he is very likely gong to be on the start line in at least one Grand Tour next year. His main goal, however, remains improving his race craft and tactics.


“We had a quick discussion about it a few days ago but nothing is really set in stone at the moment. There’s still a lot of time and there’s no real rush to put things down on paper,” he says.


“I just want to be a bit more consistent than I was this year. The thing is that could have been down to my collarbone break. When you have a period like that, and I didn’t race for two and a half months, it’s a long time to be out during the season. It feels like I need to be more consistent but I just to want to be up there in more races, at the pointy end of things when races are won. If I can do that in more races then I’ll be making progress.”


Both Yates boys will be in their final year of their current Orica deal but despite interest from lots of teams, they look comfortable where they are.


“I don’t think I’d have been doing the Tour if I was anywhere else but on this team,” Yates adds.


“That’s the thing about GreenEdge. You give and you take but everything rotates and everyone has their chance. There’s never this one clear leader for every race so we took around 35 wins this year but they were all spread around within the team. People get their opportunities here and when they come along it means that you’re motivated to try and do your best.”


“I’ve another year at the moment and I’m going to concentrate on my racing next year.” 




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