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Adam Yates puts Tour bid at center of season

Adam Yates will target the 2019 Tour de France with hopes of landing on the final podium

Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) returns to the Tour de France this summer hoping to confirm his breakout performance of 2016.

The twin brother of Vuelta a España winner Simon, Adam is hoping to be the same rider who won the best young rider’s jersey and finished fourth overall in the 2016 Tour.

“Last year, we made some mistakes that cost us and it was a big disappointment,” Yates said Tuesday. “So it will be good to go back and rectify that.”

Following his breakout ride in 2016, Adam Yates raced the Giro d’Italia-Vuelta a España double in 2017, finishing ninth and 34th, respectively. He returned to the Tour last summer only to see his efforts stall in the mountains. After surviving the first week in good position, Yates struggled in the Alps and fell out of contention. Mitchelton-Scott management chalked the bad days in the Alps up to hydration problems.

Yates nearly won a stage in the Pyrénées, but crashed and finished third in stage 16. He arrived in Paris a disappointing 29th.

Last fall, he helped brother Simon win the Vuelta, and with Simon returning to the Giro in May, Adam is getting leadership duties at the Tour for the Aussie outfit. An impressive stage win at the Vuelta a la Valenciana in February ahead of world champion Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) only boosts the team’s confidence.

“The challenge for any athlete is repeating a breakthrough performance,” said Mitchelton-Scott sport director Matt White. “Adam showed in 2016 that he can mix it with the big boys at the Tour de France, he had a very solid Giro in 2017 and even though last year didn’t go as we had planned, we are heading back this year with ambitions of Adam challenging for a spot on the podium come July.”

White believes the climber-friendly Tour route in 2019 suits Yates perfectly. With Simon and Esteban Chaves both heading to the Giro, it’s unlikely if those two will race the Tour. Instead, Mitchelton-Scott will bring a GC team built around protecting Adam in the Tour.

“Adam will have a great team supporting him and I really believe he is going to show what he is capable of,” White said. “We are also continuing to learn as a team and we are going through that process with different groups of riders at different races and that will only continue.”

The 2019 Tour de France starts July 6 in Brussels.