Orica-GreenEdge is not putting pressure on the Yates twins in the Critérium du Dauphiné this week in France because it wants to keep them fresh for something much larger: the Tour de France.
Simon Yates placed fifth on the summit finish to Pra Loup yesterday and again fifth today, both times with several big hitters like Sky’s Chris Froome nearby. He sits fourth at 35 seconds behind race leader Nibali with two mountain stages to race. Orica, however, is not telling him to try to win a stage or to race for the overall with the Tour three weeks away.
“They are both heading to the Tour de France, so we don’t want to pressure them,” Orica sports director, Lorenzo Lepage told Cycling Weekly.
“Of course, though, you can’t hold them back. I told Simon when you feel you have to go too deep to follow the big guys, don’t do it, but he clearly has good legs.
“The same with Adam, he was up the road today, but I told him to think about it, it’s still along way. There are older guys there, you get overexcited with the guys like Nibali and Valverde. He made the call, though, he said, ‘I’m coming back, it’s still a long way and it’s raining.’ That’s what we want, that they learn and make the calls.”
It is hard to believe, but the 22-year-old Englishmen only turned professional with the Australian team last year. In the short amount of time, they have made huge strides. Adam won the Tour of Turkey and placed sixth in the Dauphiné last year, and ninth in the Tirreno-Adriatico this year; and Simon debuted in the Tour de France last year, and placed fifth in País Vasco and sixth in the Tour de Romandie this year.
“Besides that they are twins, which is the first thing you notice, they both are really strong mentally, they really want to do it. They are not big talkers, but they are focused. I see it in the bus daily,” Lepage added.
“What Simon and his brother have shown is great, but it’s important they don’t miss steps in their progression. If you skip steps, you hurt yourself. The young guys already pressure themselves enough already.”
The “keep calm” message will continue with two more summit finishes before the Critérium du Dauphiné finishes on Sunday. Adam is gradually improving after getting sick in the Tour des Fjords last month, Simon is slowly edging toward the leader’s yellow jersey.
Lepage wants Simon to hold his fourth place or aim for higher, but not dig too deep to do so. In the Tour de France, it will be different. It will be strictly about progression and stage wins even if they have shown they are capable of riding a high classification in WorldTour races.
“We’ll sit with the guys, but I think it’s stupid to go to the Tour and think about that the overall,” he added. “The goal will to pick days to go for a stage.”