Simon Yates to make Tour de France debut with Orica-GreenEdge

Simon Yates, Tour of Slovenia 2014
(Image credit: Graham Watson)

Neo-professional Simon Yates will make his Tour de France debut with Orica-GreenEdge from Saturday bringing the total number of British riders competing to four.

Yates was a late replacement for South African pilot Daryl Impey in the nine-man squad that was one of the last to be announced.

Road captain Mathew Hayman as well as Luke Dubridge are among five that will make their first race appearances with the team that also includes leader Simon Gerrans, Michael Matthews, who wore the maglia rosa for a stint at the Giro d’Italia this year, Jens Keukeleire, Michael Albasini, Simon Clarke and Canadian road and time trial champion Svein Tuft.

"I am very happy with the roster we have assembled. It’s a good mix of youth and experience,” sports director Matt White said.

Yates will make his Tour debut on home turf this weekend having recovered from a broken collarbone sustained in a crash at the Tour of Turkey. He and brother, Adam have been the subject of hyperbole since joining the team and have been projected as future Grand Tour general classification contenders.

"Simon has certainly achieved a lot more than we would have imagined up to this point,” said White. “It wasn't the plan to bring him into the roster for the Tour de France, but for what we want to achieve as a team, he’s a great fit. It is no secret that we are targeting the intermediate mountain stages, and Simon has shown in his results throughout the year that he is more than capable of great results.

"Simon’s inclusion begs the question of Adam’s exclusion,” he continued.

“Simon’s broken collarbone in the Tour of Turkey has been a blessing in disguise. One of the reasons Adam is not going is because he has been racing and on very good condition since January. It wouldn't be a wise decision for us to send Adam. With Simon’s forced break due to injury, he’s fresh and ready to race.”

Former Milan-San Remo champion Matt Goss has been a co-leader of the team the past two seasons but is an omission this year.

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