By Jonny Long
Simon Yates is planning to ride the Tour de France like a series of one-day races in the mountains, going for stage glory before recharging and going again, in a plan of action that should also see him build form before his main season goal of the Tokyo Olympics road race.
"Physically, I'm okay. For me, it's always the challenge is the mental aspect of it, after going really all-in for the Giro, concentrating for three weeks and then backing it up only a couple of weeks later, that's the hardest thing for me. But physically, I feel fine," Simon Yates said before stage seven, where he later got himself into the breakaway.
"The hardest thing about targeting stages. You never know what the other teams have planned, if they want to go for the stage from the peloton or if they want to go from the break," Yates explained of just how tough it is as a climber to win a stage at the Tour de France. "So we'll see in the coming days, but for sure there are more opportunities for me."
Yates explains Sunday's stage to Tignes probably suits him more than the Saturday's finish at Le Grand-Bornand, as it's an uphill finish and a generally harder stage too, he thinks.
"From eight onwards, there are a lot of opportunities," he says. "Ventoux, of course, is a very famous climb in the Tour de France. I've actually never been to it or raced up it, I don't believe, I think we've passed over in Paris-Nice, but we didn't go to the summit.
"Of course it would be great to win that stage but there's also a lot of other stages that I believe I can win. Going into the second rest day we also finish in Andorra, very close to where I live. So that would also be a great stage to win.
"The whole point is to try and replicate 2019, a top 10 at the Giro and then I managed to win two stages at the Tour. So I mean, if I can grab one here then that will be successful," Yates added, having already secured third overall at the Giro earlier this year.
Fitting the Giro, Tour and Olympics into one season is an impressive feat, and Yates thinks if he rode for GC in France he wouldn't be able to physically recover in time to challenge for gold in Tokyo.
"I don't think I would come out of the Tour de France physically good enough to do a good job [at the Olympics]. And that's been a goal of mine for a long time now. So to do the full three weeks of GC, it's very demanding for the body and I just don't think it's enough time for me personally, to recover and back it up at the Olympics.
"I think it's just better to target stages, really go all in for a stage here take a few days off and do it again another day, and that really replicates a one-day race, like the Olympics. I think also just mentally it's difficult for me to do both the Giro and the Tour for GC, it takes a lot of mental effort as well as physical effort."
Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races. I'm 6'0", 26 years old, have a strong hairline and have an adequate amount of savings for someone my age. I'm very single at the minute so if you know anyone, hit me up.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab, reporting about students evacuating their bowels on nightclub dancefloors and consecrating their love on lecture hall floors. I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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