Adam Yates has won smaller stage races, placed sixth in the Critérium du Dauphiné and completed two Grand Tours, but Orica-GreenEdge say that its British star is not ready for a top 10 in next month's Tour de France.
Yates returned from a two-week altitude training camp in Sierra Nevada. In the high elevations of southern Spain, he prepared his body in the thin air and for next month’s French heat. He was not readying for a run at the general classification, though, but a win in one of the stages.
"He would prefer and the team would prefer a stage win," sports director Matt White told Cycling Weekly. "He's not ready to run top 10 in the Tour de France at 23 years old. Is it an achievement to finish 22nd in the Tour de France? It's much more of an achievement to win a stage, which I think is a more of a realistic target to go for."
Orica-GreenEdge named their nine-man team for the Tour this morning with Yates included for the second time. He raced the Tour last year with his twin brother Simon and raced the Vuelta a España in 2014. Simon, who trained in Sierra Nevada with Adam in hope of racing the Tour, must sit out due to an doping ban for asthma medicine Terbutaline.
Yates showed that he is ready for a Tour stage win. He won the Tour of Turkey in his debut professional season. Last year, after placing top ten in three stages of the Tour, he won the Clásica San Sebastián one-day race. He placed seventh overall last month in the Critérium du Dauphiné, where he was sixth in 2015, behind Chris Froome (Sky).
"In the last 12 months, he won San Sebastián, finished second in Montreal and matured from 22 to 23 years old. He's proven one of the best in hilly races and he has his head around one-week stage races, but the three-week stage races are a different beast,” said White.
"We haven't got a team there to [go for the overall classification], we are targeting stage wins with Adam [Simon] Gerrans, [Michael] Matthews... It opens it up to a lot more opportunities if Adam does not go for the general. He doesn't want to spend three weeks going for the general classification. He'd rather win a stage.
“[A stage win] is definitely within his realms, that's for sure. He's shown that he can match it with the world's top climbers. And because he's not targeting the general classification, it's going to open a lot more stages to him, as well."
White leaves for Normandy on Tuesday. Yates returns to his base in Girona, Spain, on Monday and follows shortly behind White for the race start on Saturday.
"He doesn't have a fear of anyone," White added. "When he goes for something, he doesn't care about who he's trying to beat, whether it's Chris Froome, [Alberto] Contador or some guy in a small team he's caught in a break with. He's aggressive and that's the reason why he's won the races he's won so far. He's only two and a half years into his career, but he's won. How many 23 year-olds have won a Classic?"
You can read an exclusive interview with Adam Yates in this week's issue of Cycling Weekly magazine (on sale from Thursday, June 30)
Orica-GreenEdge team for 2016 Tour de France
Michael Albasini (Sui)
Luke Durbridge (Aus)
Simon Gerrans (Aus)
Mathew Hayman (Aus)
Dary Impey (RSA)
Christopher Juul-Jensen (Den)
Michael Matthews (Aus)
Ruben Plaza (Spa)
Adam Yates (GBr)
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