Cycling Weekly is counting down the top 30 British Riders of the Year thoughout December. The top 10 will be revealed in the December 19 issue of Cycling Weekly magazine.
NUMBER 21: ADAM YATES
Tour de l’Avenir runner-up
The Tour de l’Avenir has changed its format over the years. What used to be a race for young professionals (with a period when it was open to everyone and called the Tour of the EEC) is now the most prestigious stage race in the under-23 Nations Cup series.
Regardless of the various tweaks, Adam Yates equalled the best performance by a British rider when he finished as runner-up to Spain’s Ruben Fernandez in the eight-day stage race, which was held in the Alps towards the end of August.
The previous best result was when Scotland’s Robert Millar finished second behind the American Greg LeMond in 1982. LeMond went on to win the Tour de France three times, Millar was fourth and won the king of the mountains title in 1984. The Tour de l’Avenir – which means Tour of the Future – has often brought to our attention riders who will go on to achieve great things.
Take a look at some of the riders who have finished on the podium since the event was altered in 2008 so it was contested by under-23 national teams. That year Jan Bakelants of Belgium won. Five summers on, he won a Tour stage on the island of Corsica. The runner-up was Portugal’s Rui Costa, now the world champion. In 2009, Tejay Van Garderen finished second, the following year Nairo Quintana beat Andrew Talansky.
All that does not guarantee Adam Yates (or his twin brother Simon, who won back-to-back stages at the Tour de l’Avenir) equal success but the signs are impressive.
Adam Yates and his brother Simon were very aggressive on the short but tough fifth stage to Morzine. They finished first and second from a group of three.
The overall winner, Ruben Fernandez beat Yates by 55 seconds and although it is too simplistic to suggest that had the Spaniard not gained 1-42 on the fourth stage, Yates might have won, it’s clear that the British rider was more consistent over the course of the week.
Both Yates brothers will ride for the Australian Orica-GreenEdge team next season.
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