British twins Adam and Simon Yates, despite interest from Team Sky and other teams, have extended their contracts with Orica-GreenEDGE for a further year, through to the end of 2016.
They joined the WorldTour ranks with the Australian team in the 2014 season on a two-year deal and are viewed as some of the country’s best stage race talent coming through the ranks.
Adam won the Tour of Turkey and placed sixth in the Critérium du Dauphiné last year, and in March finished ninth in the Tirreno-Adriatico.
“They re-signed,” sports director, Matt White told Cycling Weekly.
“We want to keep them for as long as they want to stay. They fit in well here, they’re improving month to month.”
British team Sky were also reportedly chasing the signatures of the 22-year-old Brits, who are hotly tipped to follow on the stage racing success of Bradley Wiggins and Froome.
“We are a British team ultimately, with a global roster and global race programme,” Team Principal David Brailsford said in June last year, “but to have them would seem to make absolute sense.”
The Yates brothers wanted to join Orica in 2014 to have their chance to lead the team and were eager to continue in the Aussie environment, added White.
In the Giro d’Italia on Saturday, Orica won the opening time trial stage and put Simon Gerrans in the leader’s pink jersey. Neither of the Yates brothers are participating in the year’s first Grand Tour, instead building for the Tour de France in July.
“The culture of our team, they enjoy it. Our team’s not for everyone. The same way French or Italian teams are not for everyone. Every team has a different culture, their personalities fit into the culture we have,” White said.
“I can’t say how a British team is because I haven’t been in one, I’ve been in a French team and Italian teams, and international teams, I think that we are relaxed, we know when to switch on or switch off, we have a great relationship between the management and riders. The boys have a say in what we do, as well. We work with the riders, not above them, and some teams are like that.”
White added that as the two continue to grow and to improve in stage races, including Grand Tours, Orica would build its classification team to support them. New support riders could already be signed later this summer for the 2016 season. In the 2016 season, he wants to continue to build the team to encourage the brothers to stay for 2017.
“We are definitely going down the line of GC riders. We now have a team to support Adam, Simon or Esteban Chaves in WorldTour events. Do we have a team for a Grand Tour? Not yet, but they are not going to a Grand Tour to win in 2015, either,” he continued.
“I was [a director] in Garmin in the 2008 and 2009 Tour de France, we had fourth [with Wiggins] in a team that was not even as strong as the one we have here. It’s one thing going to win the Tour de France, it’s another thing to finish on the podium and another to finish in the top 10. When they are ready to win, you can start to build a team slowly.”
White would not say when the Yates brothers re-signed their extensions. General Manager Shayne Bannan told Cycling Weekly that the team is not ready to confirm the renewal contracts, but that he felt confident it would happen soon.