Simon Yates recovering from Strade Bianche crash as he defends Tirreno-Adriatico title

The British rider won the overall last year, beating compatriot Geraint Thomas

Simon Yates is set to try and retain his Tirreno-Adriatico title after taking victory last year in fine style against fellow British rider, Geraint Thomas.

Yates (BikeExchange) is using the week-long stage race as part of his preparation towards his main goal of finally winning the Giro d’Italia.

Last year saw the rider, from Bury in Greater Manchester, put on an amazing performance on the main mountain finish, riding away from his rivals before holding on in the final individual time trial around San Benedetto del Tronto.

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But his fortune didn’t carry into last year’s Giro, which was much closer on the calendar to the ‘race of the two seas’ due to the rescheduling of races after the Covid-19 shutdown, as Yates had tested positive for the virus after losing several minutes, forcing him to abandon.

Ahead of the 2021 Tirreno, Yates said: “I’m going okay. I had a small crash in Strade Bianche, nothing too serious but we are taking everything very consciously and calmly. I hope to arrive in Tirreno ready to go and hopefully I can do a good performance.

“It looks like a very classic route, from what I can see, you have sprint stages and a summit finish. It’s not a climb that I know, but I have seen the videos of it in the past, and hopefully I can do a good ride there. As always, the last stage time trial and it will be a good to test myself against the clock and just to see where the form is.

“Compared to last year, it’s just a little bit different where I am in my preparation. Last year Tirreno was the final race before the Giro d’Italia and this year I have some more time to prepare.

“This year is more like a building block, a step towards my main goal which is the Giro, but of course I’d still like to do a good ride and hopefully put on a good performance.”

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Yates has put in some brilliant performances at the Giro, particularly in 2018 where he led for most of the race before losing out to Chris Froome and plummeting down the order.

Team BikeExchange sports director, Matt White, said: “Tirreno has always been a good hunting ground for the team. The teams first European win was achieved here 10-years-ago and we have continued that success in recent times with Adam Yates and last year Simon Yates who returns as defending champion.

“It’s the start of Simon’s Giro preparation and we are excited to be back at such a beautiful race and we intend to challenge for victory in what has to be the best start list in the race’s history.”