Simon Yates, after taking the late call-up in Leeds and escaping in two mountain stages, abandoned the Tour de France. The 21-year-old, first-year professional returned home and will not start on Tuesday when the race resumes after its second rest day.
“It was a once in a lifetime opportunity with the start in Yorkshire. Almost in my home training base basically and it’s something I will never forget for the rest of my life,” said Yates.
“Once we got over to France it’s been non-stop really and it really has been surreal, a really good experience and I hope to be back here in a year to come.”
Orica-GreenEdge called Yates one week before the race to ask him to take part. His twin brother Adam had a heavier spring schedule that included the Tour of Turkey overall win and racing in the Critérium du Dauphiné. A fractured collarbone in May at the Tour of Turkey forced Simon Yates to take a break.
Yates excelled as a debutant in the Tour de France. He escaped in the first summit finish, stage eight, to La Mauselaine and again in Saturday’s stage 14 to Risoul.
“Going back to the experience thing,” Yates continued, “it’s one of those things that you really take on board and it helps you for the future so I think it was just another great opportunity and I’m looking forward to being back.”
Orica had to leave Daryl Impey at home due to a doping case and Mike Matthews due to a crash in the days before. It allowed youngsters like Yates to shine.
“Ten out of ten,” head sports director, Matt White said of Yates’ ride. “For a 21-year-old neo-pro, he contributed every day, everything he could do. Making one break in the Tour de France is an achievement but to make a couple and the way he has gone about the whole Tour de France experience is a great sign for the future.
“Yes, it would be nice for him to finish the Tour, but it was a group decision that enough is enough and we have a lot of goals for him in the second half of the season.”
Tour de France debutant and youngest rider in the race, Simon Yates says he's never experienced anything like it
The two remaining British riders in the 2014 Tour de France, Geraint Thomas and Simon Yates, in stage 14's escape