'I like to race aggressively but you can't always do that' - Simon Yates on his Giro d'Italia return 

The British Grand Tour winner reflects on his 2018 disappointment

(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Simon Yates says his aggressive racing style may have contributed to his Giro d’Italia disappointment last year.

The Brit came within days of a maiden Grand Tour victory last May, but fell dramatically out of contention on the penultimate mountain stage.

Mitchelton-Scott rider Yates returns to Italy this year and said he plans to keep his aggressive tendencies under control.

The 26-year-old said: “I like to race aggressively but you can’t always do that unfortunately. That’s what I really learned from last season.

“If I can race aggressively that’s how I’d like to race, because that’s what I enjoy.

“I hope the condition is the same as last year and we’ll race more conservatively.”

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There is one major difference between the Yates’ targeting the 2019 Giro and the one who finished 21st overall last year – he has since become a Grand Tour winner.

After the disappointment in Italy Yates returned to three-week racing at the Vuelta a España, where he controlled the race for much of the second and third weeks, eventually taking overall victory by 1-46.

Yates was forced to race aggressively in last year’s Giro because of rival Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb), who was a serious threat in the time trials.

But after defending his lead against the clock on stage 16, Yates lost 35 minutes on stage 19 as Chris Froome (Team Sky) rode into the maglia rosa with a memorable solo attack.

Yates said he has been working on his time trialling abilities heading into the 2019 season, which saw him take a surprise TT victory in this year’s Paris-Nice.

“I’ve always put a lot of work into my time trial but I’ve never had the results to back it up,” he said.

“Now we’re seeing all that hard work come through.”

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Yates has also made it clear that the Giro is the race that motivates him most, recently saying he is “not interested” in the Tour de France.

He said: “I wanted to go back to the Giro. That’s what’s driving me at the moment.

“That’s what I have the passion for to get out of bed. In the future I’ll go back to the Tour but this year is not the year.”

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.