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

(Image credit: Getty Images)

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.

>>> Vincenzo Nibali says riders should switch off bike computers following Mathieu van der Poel’s Strade Bianche win

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."

>>> Sir Bradley Wiggins still believes Chris Froome can win another Tour de France

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."

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.