Category: Simon Yates

Mitchelton’s GC play paid off in spades in 2018


Mitchelton-Scott’s long-play bet on the GC paid off in spades in 2018. The Australian-based team debuted in 2012 built on sprinters and breakaway artists but quietly started to build the foundation for the overall classification. After scoring podiums in the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España in 2016, the team struck gold this year.

Simon Yates raced to the overall victory at the Vuelta, the team’s first grand tour triumph.

“We have made no secret of our switch toward a GC focus and our burning desire to win a grand tour,” said manager Shayne Bannon. “To achieve that this season was something this organization will never forget.”

Yates’s consistency and winning confidence at the Vuelta more than made up for the disappointment he suffered at the Giro. Yates, 26, was looking untouchable in the Italian tour until a dramatic collapse on the penultimate mountain stage. Mitchelton-Scott officials at the time remained upbeat because they felt that Yates’s performance through much of the Giro would only bode well for future GC runs.

Little did the team know that Yates would return the favor during the Vuelta. With the presence of superior time trialists Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) and Chris Froome (Sky), Yates could race in a different way than he did at the Giro. At the Vuelta, Yates patiently bided his time and delivered the team’s first grand tour victory.

“What happened in the Giro helped Simon win the Vuelta,” said lead sport director Matt White. “And without that experience in the Giro, I don’t think he would have won the Vuelta. That Giro was critical in his development as a GC leader.”

Despite the switch to a more GC-focused program, that doesn’t mean the Aussie squad isn’t still chasing victories. In 2018 it clocked a franchise record of 38 victories, three more than the team’s previous record of 35 in 2014.

“This year has been extremely satisfying to us as an organization,” Bannon continued. “Not just because of the great results our riders achieved but just as much to see the general progression of the entire team.”

A few things will change in 2019 with the departure of important names. Mat Hayman, the 2016 winner of Paris-Roubaix, will retire after racing in January’s Santos Tour Down Under. Sprinter Caleb Ewan is heading to Lotto-Soudal, along with Roger Kluge, in the wake of his Tour de France snub this summer. Other departures include Romain Kreuziger (Dimension Data), Robert Power (Sunweb), Svein Tuft (Rally Cycling) and Carlos Verona (Movistar). Top arrivals include Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing) and Tsgabu Grmay (Trek-Segafredo).

Despite the shakeups, the team’s core remains firmly focused on GC. The team is hopeful Adam Yates and Chaves, zapped by the Epstein-Barr virus much of this season, will continue on their progressions. Chaves delivered the team’s first two grand tour podiums, while Adam Yates still holds the team’s best Tour GC finish with a fourth in 2016. Both Yates brothers are under contract through 2020. Chaves, who hasn’t raced since the Giro, has one more year left on his contract.

What’s next? Plenty. The team hopes to continue playing its GC cards across the grand tours. Simon Yates said he has “unfinished business” with the Giro following his late-race collapse in May, while Adam Yates also wants to confirm his promise. The Giro and Tour de France will take center stage as the team raises the bar.

“Results don’t come easily at the best of times, but when you change focus and commit to building a new target from the base up,” Bannon said. “It takes a lot of hard work, persistence and time.”

Read the full article at Mitchelton’s GC play paid off in spades in 2018 on VeloNews.com.

Yates flies flag for Britain at road world championships


INNSBRUCK, Austria (AFP) — Rising star Simon Yates, fresh from his victory in the Vuelta a España, will carry the baton for Britain at the world road championships at Innsbruck this week on an Alpine course that suits him better than Chris Froome or Geraint Thomas.

Ten world champion rainbow jerseys are up for grabs at the eight-day event staged on Alpine roads in the Tyrol region around the picturesque Austrian resort town, with races at junior, under-23 and elite level for both men and women in road races and time trials.

Three-time defending world champion Peter Sagan will go for a fourth road race title in the six-hour 258-kilometer (160-mile) blue-riband race, but the brutal final climb with sections at 28 percent gradient would appear to be a potential obstacle to the Slovak’s chances.

In the absence of Giro d’Italia winner Froome and his Sky teammate, Tour de France champion Thomas, Yates should be the man to beat next Sunday after displaying brilliant climbing skills and cut-throat racing savvy when winning the Vuelta a España to complete a British sweep of the grand tours this year.

Just two Britons have won a world title — Tom Simpson was Britain’s first road race champion in 1965 with Mark Cavendish clinching the crown in 2011 in Copenhagen.

British team performance director Stephen Park explained Froome and Thomas were too tired to make a real challenge on the steep roads.

“Given the challenging nature of the course, we want every rider selected to be able to give their 100 percent to the team, and on the back of what has been an incredible season for both G (Thomas) and Froomey, it’s understandable they are unable to commit to this,” he said.

The men’s event ends with a short but sharp 3.2km climb with an average gradient of 11.5 percent and a maximum gradient of 28 percent. From the top of the climb, the riders speed down a fast and technical descent to the finish line in the center of the city.

Spanish veteran Alejandro Valverde and rising French star Julian Alaphilippe should provide the major threat in a season where differences in levels and form between riders have been minimal.

Irishman Dan Martin, Italians Vincenzo Nibali and Fabio Aru, and the French climbers Romain Bardet and Thibaut Pinot are all serious contenders on the pristine Tyrolian routes.

“I’m feeling fresh and energized,” AG2R team captain Bardet, who has twice been on the Tour de France podium, said this week.

“The timing feels right, Julian Alaphilippe is maybe the top rider, but anything can happen at the world championships, we’ll see on the day,” said Bardet, who also said he felt the final climb was perfect for Yates and his twin brother Adam.

Dutchman Tom Dumoulin beat Primoz Roglic and Froome in the time trial at Bergen last season and will again be favorite in the individual event and with Sunweb in the team event.

Sunweb will also defend the women’s team time trial title that gets the championships rolling on Sunday with a fearsome line-up which includes European champion Ellen Van Dijk, Canada’s time-trial champion Leah Kirchman, and the American road champion Coryn Rivera.

But 2018 also marks the end of the so-called ‘trade teams’ in the world championships time-trial where commercial outfits such as Bardet’s AG2R, the Swiss team BMC, or Spain’s Movistar for example field their star-studded line-ups.

BMC field a powerful line-up with Rohan Dennis, Stefan Kung, Greg Van Avermaet, and Tejay van Garderen. After ending runners-up the last two years they have vowed to bow out with a win in remembrance of their recently deceased owner Andy Rihs.

“The difficult part is how to pace into the climb and still do a good climb to have enough riders together for the final kilometers,” BMC said on its website.

Read the full article at Yates flies flag for Britain at road world championships on VeloNews.com.

VN podcast, ep. 107: The importance of Yates’s Vuelta victory

Welcome to the VeloNews cycling podcast, where we discuss the latest trends, news, and controversies in the world of cycling.

The 2018 grand tour season was a British invasion! Simon Yates made it a clean sweep by winning the Vuelta a España.

Was it a good edition of the Vuelta? What does it mean for Yates? How do we rank this year’s grand tours? We unpack the action from Spain.

Then, Fred talks to Gregor Brown who followed the race on the ground and he speaks to Mitchelton-Scott team director Matt White via Skype after the team’s first grand tour victory.

Plus, Spencer talks about the story behind Breck Epic mountain bike race’s decision not to sell to Ironman.

This episode of the VeloNews podcast is sponsored by Health IQ. Get a free quote and save money on life insurance >>

If you like what you hear, subscribe to the VeloNews podcast on iTunesStitcher, and Google Play. Please give us a review and a rating, if you have time! Also, check out the VeloNews Fast Talk training podcast with Trevor Connor.

Read the full article at VN podcast, ep. 107: The importance of Yates’s Vuelta victory on VeloNews.com.

Wiggins: Yates wouldn’t have won Vuelta with Sky


FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — Bradley Wiggins, Great Britain’s first Tour de France winner, could not see Simon Yates winning the Vuelta a España had he joined Team Sky.

Yates conquered the Spanish grand tour Sunday. Team Mitchelton-Scott has been working to develop the Englishman since he joined with twin brother Adam Yates in 2014.

The win came after a seventh-place result in the 2017 Tour. In the 2018 Giro d’Italia, Yates cracked with two days remaining and placed 21st. Before that, he led the race for 13 days and won three stages.

“If he’d gone to Sky, I don’t think he’d have won the Vuelta,” Wiggins said on a Eurosport show.

“It was a sliding doors moment, whether his career would have gone down this path. By nature of the fact that Sky wouldn’t take Adam as well in one package, he’s ended up finding a great team and won a grand tour at 26.”

Yates raced in the highly regarded British Academy program that produced Geraint Thomas, winner of the Tour this year, and Mark Cavendish.

When the Yates twins signed in 2013 to join the Australian WorldTour team then known as Orica, Wiggins said, “Sky missed the boat.”

The twins both said they would have “more options” in a foreign team. Adam added, “If we went to Sky, there might be fewer options.”

The Yates feared they would be smothered by the talented riders and lost on Sky’s deep roster. After the Mitchelton franchise signed Simon Yates, it took him to the 2014 Tour.

At Team Sky, Chris Froome continued to dominate. He won four Tours and the Vuelta, and this spring he rode clear to the overall Giro title when Simon Yates crumbled. It supported Richie Porte and Geraint Thomas too, the latter winning the 2018 Tour this summer.

Team Sky signed super domestiques to support the captains. Yates risked slipping into a helper’s roll without room to shine. Others, including Americans Ian Boswell and Joe Dombrowski, worked well but have since transferred to different squads after their debuts with the British team.

“I’ve learned a lot at Sky, from the best: Froome, Wiggins, and Thomas,” Boswell, now with Team Katusha-Alpecin, said last year. “I learned a lot, but to see what I am capable of on a more regular basis, I had to change teams.”

Sky even pursued the Yates twins before they renewed their contracts for the 2016 season with their Australian team. Sky boss David Brailsford said, “We are a British team ultimately, to have them would seem to make absolute sense.”

The Yates form part of Mitchelton’s grand tour trio with Colombian Esteban Chaves. Both have won the white jersey of best young rider in the Tour de France. Adam Yates did so in 2016 when he placed fourth. Now, the team has its first grand tour victory with Simon Yates’s Vuelta title.

“We all knew that Simon was capable of it,” Wiggins added. “To execute it was obviously another thing, but I’m certainly not surprised because he’s been knocking on the door for years.

“We asked whether [the Giro] could have been the best thing that ever happened to him and I think it probably was because he’s learned from it and now he’s won the Vuelta.

“At 26 he’s got chances to win more Giros and more Tours down the line. There’s only one way to learn, and that’s through mass failures, and that must have been a massive disappointment for him.”

Wiggins also advised upcoming British cyclocross and road star Tom Pidcock to stay clear of Sky. “Don’t go to Team Sky in the future,” he said in February. “Steer clear of them because they’ll ruin you.”

Read the full article at Wiggins: Yates wouldn’t have won Vuelta with Sky on VeloNews.com.

Simon Yates would not have won Vuelta with Team Sky, says Bradley Wiggins

• Former Team Skyrider speaks out against previous employers
• Wiggins: Yates deserves extra credit after Giro near miss

Sir Bradley Wiggins has claimed Simon Yates would have not have achieved his historic Vuelta success had he chosen to pursue his career with Team Sky. Wiggins believes Yates’s decision to steer clear of one of the sport’s most pre-eminent teams enabled him to storm to victory in Madrid on Sunday.

Related: Youth and potential puts Simon Yates at head of cycling’s next generation | William Fotheringham

Related: Simon Yates’s Vuelta a España win offers glimpse of world without Sky | William Fotheringham

Continue reading…

Vuelta champ Yates still thinking about Giro


FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — Simon Yates is keeping the Giro d’Italia in the back of his mind even with the Vuelta a España celebrations continuing.

The 26-year-old Brit won the Vuelta a España Sunday with Team Mitchelton-Scott. Over three weeks, he was in the red leader’s jersey for 11 days and notched a victory on the Praeres stage. But he will not forget the Giro, which taught him a few lessons in May.

“There’s no real big secret to it,” he said. “It’s just about staying calm in the moment that calls for it, and not being too aggressive.”

Yates led for most of the Giro with an aggressive start that saw him win three stages. But he cracked with 48 hours left to race. Instead, Chris Froome rolled into Rome wearing the race leader’s pink jersey. It made a difference on how he and the team called the Spanish race over the last three weeks.

“Everyone feels good in the first week because everyone has prepared well. For me, that was really the biggest difference,” Yates said. “I arrived at the second rest day in the Vuelta… I wouldn’t say fresh, but compared to how I was feeling in the Giro, it was a different league.

“I think that was where the difference was made. We made the right calls on the road when needed, not being too aggressive. That’s really all I think was the difference.”

Of course, he had to race the Giro aggressively to gain as much time as possible on his main rivals Tom Dumoulin and Froome. Both are much better in time trials, with Dumoulin being the current world champion. In Spain, Yates did not have such a threat.

Fans instead saw an aggressive Yates in the final Andorran stages, attacking 10 kilometers out Friday and 17 kilometers out Saturday.

“For me personally, it comes back to more of a mindset thing. When I find myself on the defensive, it’s quite hard, mentally, to react to people. You never feel like you have the edge or you get the jump, or you surprise anyone,” continued Yates.

“But when you’re more aggressive and you’re attacking, you get that little bit of momentum, you have that bit of a jump, that bit of surprise, and it makes a big difference. So it’s more of a mindset thing than a physical thing.”

Losing the pink jersey after holding it for 13 days from the south to the north of Italy affected Yates. His team explained that he rebounded quickly, but Yates admitted “unfinished business” could see him seek revenge in 2019 instead of targeting the Tour de France.

“My gut feeling is that I’d like to go back to the Giro because I have unfinished business there,” Yates said.

“I’ve not thought about it too much because I’ve been concentrating on [the Vuelta] and the world championships. But my gut feeling is that’s where I’d like to try again.”

Yates last finished seventh in the 2017 Tour, when he also won the white jersey for the best young rider. This winter, the team will plan his schedule along with its other leaders, including Yates’ twin brother Adam and Colombian Esteban Chaves.

Next up, the Yates twins will head up the British national team at the world championship road race in Innsbruck, Austria.

Read the full article at Vuelta champ Yates still thinking about Giro on VeloNews.com.

Youth and potential puts Simon Yates at head of cycling’s next generation | William Fotheringham

The Vuelta champion is the youngest recent grand tour winner and can benefit from his team’s new focus on the discipline

Seven years ago, when Simon Yates took his first stage win at the Tour de l’Avenir, Great Britain had yet to win one of cycling’s major tours, although Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome were about to come agonisingly close at the Vuelta a España. Eight grand tour wins later, out of a possible 18, with four different riders, British domination of this side of cycling now seems a given, in the same way that Quickstep Floors are expected to rule the roost in one‑day Classics.

In winning the Vuelta by 1min 46sec from the surprise runner-up Enric Mas, Yates has finally confirmed the potential he showed back in 2011. It was a timely leap, as the next generation is waiting in the wings: the American Sepp Kuss, so strong in the first two weeks of his first grand tour, Spain’s Mas, the Colombians Miguel Ángel López and Egan Bernal.

Related: Simon Yates’s Vuelta a España win offers glimpse of world without Sky | William Fotheringham

Related: Simon Yates’s Vuelta victory crowns a stunning year for British cycling

Born 7 August 1992 in Bury, Greater Manchester.

Continue reading…

Yates steps out of Sky shadows to reign in Spain


MADRID, Spain (AFP) — Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) stepped out of the shadows of British cycling giants Sky on Sunday to secure his maiden grand tour triumph at the Vuelta a España.

Yates, a former track racer whose road racing talents took him to the brink of victory in this year’s Giro d’Italia, all but wrapped up overall victory on Saturday after yet another strong finish on the final mountain stage in Andorra.

After a largely processional final stage to Madrid on Sunday was claimed by Elia Viviani in a bunch sprint, the 26-year-old Englishman triumphed with a winning time of 82:05:58sec, Enric Mas (Quick-Step Floors) finishing second overall at 1:46 and Miguel Angel López (Astana) completing the podium.

It was Yates’s first victory in a three-week race and comes months after the stinging disappointment of losing the Giro d’Italia, having controlled the race for much of the opening two weeks last May.

On that occasion, Sky leader Chris Froome capitalized on Yates’s collapse in the mountains to secure the race’s pink jersey and seal his third consecutive grand tour after winning the Tour de France and Vuelta in 2017.

Froome’s grand tour-winning streak came to an end in July, when teammate Geraint Thomas, who also honed his skills on the track, upset the Kenyan-born Briton to triumph at the Tour de France.

Yates’s win on Sunday meant British riders have dominated all three grand tours in 2018. He also took Britain’s impressive streak of consecutive Grand Tour victories to five; although it won’t be lost on British cycling aficionados that it was the first British win outside of Team Sky.

Thanks to their multi-million pound budget and ability to attract the best cyclists for specific roles and races, Sky are considered the ‘Real Madrid’ of the professional peloton.

Sky, who formed on the back of the success enjoyed by Britain’s all-conquering world and Olympic track squad, would be forgiven for ignoring Yates’ obvious talents.

Yates was only 17 years old when Sky formed in 2009 with the ambition to “win the Tour de France, clean, with a British rider within five years.”

While Bradley Wiggins was on route to achieving that objective within three years, in 2012, Yates was a budding track rider whose efforts earned him a place on British Cycling’s Olympic Programme.

Yates, Froome’s teammate at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, won his first world title on the track three years later, in the points race.

The same year, Yates offered a glimpse of his road racing instincts, too. Competing for the Great Britain national squad at the Tour de l’Avenir — considered a ‘mini Tour de France’ for riders aged under-25 — Yates won stage five, ahead of his twin brother Adam, who also rides for Mitchelton-Scott.

Yates made sure it was no fluke by winning the next day’s stage, on his way to a 10th place finish overall. Those successes, ironically, signaled Yates’ potential as a grand tour winner well ahead of Froome, and Thomas.

At the Tour of Britain later that season, Yates took what was his biggest career win when he sprinted clear of a select group of strong climbers which included Wiggins and Colombian Nairo Quintana (Movistar) to claim victory on stage six.

With spaces on Team Sky at a premium, Yates joined the Orica-GreenEdge outfit in 2014 — a move that has indirectly led to his most recent successes.

Former Orica sporting director Matt White holds the position at Yates’ current team Mitchelton-Scott, and has seen the slightly-built Englishman build an impressive portfolio of results in the seasons since.

Read the full article at Yates steps out of Sky shadows to reign in Spain on VeloNews.com.

Simon Yates’s Vuelta victory crowns a stunning year for British cycling

UK fans at the finish in Madrid were well aware they had just watched history being made

Under a hot September sky and to the incongruous strains of Bad Moon Rising – not to mention those of the even less podium-friendly Another One Bites the Dust – Simon Yates completed the final few laps of his first Grand Tour victory in Madrid on Sunday night.

At 7.48pm local time, after 23 days, 21 stages and 3,254.7km, the 26-year-old rider from Bury finally crossed the line outside the Cibeles palace.

Related: Simon Yates’ Vuelta glory built on endless patience and iron discipline

Related: Simon Yates thanks ‘secret weapon’ brother after retaining Vuelta lead

Continue reading…

Simon Yates turns attention to Giro d’Italia after his Vuelta triumph

• ‘I have unfinished business there’
• Yates pays tribute to Australian team

Simon Yates joined the exclusive club of Grand Tour champions on Sunday and then began plotting the next one. It is not likely to be the Tour de France, at least not yet. Instead, Yates revealed, it is the Giro d’Italia that will probably be his priority in 2019.

“My gut feeling is that I’d like to go back to the Giro because I have unfinished business there,” he said, the memory still raw of his collapse, 48 hours from the end of the race, in May. “I’ve not thought about it too much because I’ve been concentrating on this and the world championships [in Innsbruck in two weeks]. But my gut feeling is that’s where I’d like to try again.”

Related: Simon Yates’s Vuelta a España win offers glimpse of world without Sky | William Fotheringham

Related: Simon Yates’ Vuelta glory built on endless patience and iron discipline

Continue reading…