The Vuelta a España winner lines up for the first time this season
Simon Yates says he is ‘ready to start racing again’ as he takes to the start line for the first time this season at Ruta del Sol.
Yates, winner of the 2018 Vuelta a España, will race the five-stage event in southern Spain as preparation for his bigger goals later this year.
The 26-year-old said he will be looking to support his Mitchelton-Scott team-mates, including twin brother Adam and Jack Haig.
Yates said: “I am looking forward to starting racing again, it is a new race for me so I am looking forward to that and I know some of the roads quite well around Granada so that also helps.
“But really I am just ready to start racing again.
“We have a few guys who have already raced who are going quite well, like Adam and Jack, so I will just try to support them as much as possible.”
Yates finished his 2018 season by winning the Vuelta, taking a stage win along the way.
He then rode the World Championships in British colours and started the Giro dell’Emilia but didn’t finish either of those races.
His 2018 season was a revelation, as he took his first Grand Tour win in Spain, after leading the Giro d’Italia for two weeks before falling out of contention dramatically on the penultimate mountain stage.
He left Italy with three stage wins, and the experience no doubt contributed to his victory in Spain four months later.
In 2019, Yates is targeting the Giro after the “bitter taste” the race left him with last year.
Brother Adam is looking strong in the early season, having won a stage of the Volta a Valenciana earlier this month.
He said: “This will be my first time racing Ruta del Sol, so it’s always nice to experience something new and obviously we’re coming into it with a super strong team.
“Last week went better than expected, so after a week of recovery it’ll be nice to step back into racing and try to sustain the high level of success the team has already experienced so far this year.”
Esteban Chaves will also line up, as he makes his racing comeback after battling illness for much of 2018.
Ruta del Sol runs from Wednesday (February 20) to Sunday (February 24).