Simon Yates wary of third week surprises at the Giro d'Italia

The British rider comes into the race as one of the two big favourites alongside Egan Bernal

Simon Yates waves to the crowd at Giro d'Italia 2021 team presentation
(Image credit: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Simon Yates comes into the Giro d'Italia 2021 to try and make it fourth time lucky after falling short on his previous rides of the Italian Grand Tour, but says he is wary of past failings in week three.

Yates (BikeExchange) comes into the race, yet again, as one of the top favourites after a very impressive performance at the recent Tour of the Alps where he beat rivals such as fellow Brit Hugh Carthy (EF-Nippo) as well as Pavel Sivakov (Ineos Grenadiers), and Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) to overall victory.

The British rider from Bury has, in the past, come out of the traps all guns blazing, especially in 2018 when he took three stage wins but he suffered in the final week, slipping out of pink to 21st with Chris Froome (then Team Sky) taking the overall win.

>>> Five things to look out for at the Giro d'Italia week one

When asked in a pre-race press conference about his tactics he said: "We'll see, we have to see how the prologue goes first, I know it's a cliché but we take it day-by-day.

"I can't predict what's going to happen in the first, second, or third week but we'll try to do our best every day. It also depends on what the other teams' want to do and how they want to race. But of course, if there is an opportunity I will try and take it."

Yates' new motto for this year's race is that he and the team have to be "calm and cautious," repeating the phrase multiple times throughout the press conference, taking in that the entire race is a very difficult one this year.

He continued: "We have to be careful at all moments, save energy when we can but of course we have to try and win the race and for me, I will have to take some time at some point before the final time trial. We'll see how it goes but calm, cautious and we'll just try to do our best."

"It will be challenging and of course the stage with the gravel I'll be looking to avoid any mishaps, any crashes, any splits and really concentrate on later in the race."

The 2018 Vuelta a España winner suffered from more disappointment at the race in 2020 when he had to abandon due to catching Covid-19, but says he hopes for better luck in this year's edition with a very strong team around him that he trusts.

Yates will be hoping these past difficulties have helped him for this year's race as he looks to avoid the same things happening again.

"It's hard to say [where the race will be won], you look at the last few years the race has always been won in the third week. There are guys who come from nowhere to win the bike race. I know that very personally as well.

"I'm getting older, getting more experienced as time goes on so I hope I'm learning to manage myself better. We're also evolving as a team we haven't really been targeting the GC for that long compared to other teams so I hope we can learn those experiences from the past to try and help us win this Giro."

The Giro starts on Saturday, May 8 with an 8.6km individual time trial around the city of Turin before heading on a three-week adventure around mostly central and northern Italy. 

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Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.