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The Yates twins, Simon and Adam, are enjoying "exciting times" this week in Tuscany. On the heels of Tour de L'Avenir and Tour of Britain wins, they lead the Under-23 British team in the World Championship tomorrow in Florence.
"We're up against a hard course. On paper, it should suit us," Simon told a small group of journalists at the team's base in Pistoia. "It'll be all about selection with those climbs. When it gets hard and it's whittled down, that's when you put in your move."
There is reason to believe in the 21-year-olds who sat side-by-side on the couch Tuesday afternoon. Adam placed second overall last month in one of the biggest amateur races, Tour de L'Avenir. Simon managed 10th with two stage wins, including a one-two with Adam in Morzine.
It only gets better. Last week, racing with the pros in the Tour of Britain, Simon won a stage and placed third overall behind Sky's Bradley Wiggins. "The more I look back on it, the better it seems," said Simon. "I couldn't ask for much better."
It puts the twins on the right foot for road race tomorrow at 173.19 kilometres. Their race starts in Montecatini and runs to Florence. It covers the same circuit as the professionals on Sunday; instead of 10 times, it goes around seven. Each 16.6-kilometre circuit includes the 4.37-kilometre climb to Fiesole and Salviati ramp with 16 per cent sections.
"We never go into a proper game plan, we'll weigh it out as the race goes on," Adam said. "The Under-23 races are not as controlled as the pro races." Simon added, "The course is hard and it'll suit us."
Simon explained they will lead the team. A quieter Adam listed Julian Alaphilippe (France) and Jasper Stuyven (Belgium) as Great Britain's strongest rivals.
The Florence Worlds marks a transition for Simon and Adam, who are rumoured to be joining the professional ranks with Orica-GreenEdge next year. Simon smiled and said, "Those are the rumours."
An announcement could come as early as tomorrow. It appears they will not join their home team as Wiggins said last week, "Sky missed the boat."
"There'd be more options if we did go [to a foreign team], even if Sky is developing their young riders well," continued Simon. Adam explained, "Sky supports our decision and is happy with our choice. If we went to Sky, there might be fewer options, but if you go away, you might have more options."
Orica general manager, Shayne Bannan told Cycling Weekly of the possible move, "We are in discussion, but not confirmed at this stage."
Road World Championships 2013: Coverage index
Great Britain fields strong under-23 team for World Championships
Climbs of the World Championships road race route
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Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.
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