Simon Yates and his Mitchelton-Scott team-mate Esteban Chaves are planning to attack rivals like Tom Dumoulin and Chris Froome in the upcoming Giro d’Italia stages.
The two sit well-placed in the overall with Yates at 17 seconds behind leader Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) and 16 seconds behind Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb).
“An aggressive race planned? We are going to have to so if we want to win the Giro,” Mitchelton-Scott sports director, Matt White told Cycling Weekly.
“We have to be aggressively because we know our guys aren’t in the same time trial abilities as those two for example [Dumoulin and Froome], but they are clearly some of the best time trial riders in the world outright.
“When there are opportunities to attack and take time on Dumoulin and Froome, we have to attack and take it. For sure, if we want to win the Giro.”
The Australian WorldTour team is the only one with two GC men in its eight-man line-up. That could be helpful already on Thursday on the 15-kilometre summit finish up Mount Etna and in the second half of the mountain-heavy Giro.
Watch: Giro d’Italia stage five higlights
“When there’s a select group in the final, we should be the only team there with two guys really late into the race. Which is going to be great, we can be aggressive with one and use another one to sit on other guys,” White continued.
“The race should see more of a selection tomorrow, and if anyone out of the top 10 has a weak day, the others are going to try to rub it in.”
Yates raced to sixth overall in the 2016 Vuelta a España and seventh in the 2017 Tour de France. This year, he won stages in Paris-Nice and the Volta a Catalunya.
The big difference, however, appears to be his time trial. In the Giro’s opening time trial in Jerusalem, 25-year-old Yates lost only 20 second to winner Dumoulin over 9.7 kilometres.
“He’s had a really good season, he’s won a lot. It’s been no surprise. It’s been a gradual progressing and it’s a good sign, you’d expect that. You’d hope that guys that age are progressing,” White said.
“He’s mentally good. That’s also natural, once you lead a team for a few years… He led a team at the Tour de France to finish top 10. He’s used to the pressure, every year he starts with the goal. In Paris-Nice and Cataluyna this year, he’s been the leader and with the objective to ride the GC, and he’s ticked those boxes.”