Yates to withdraw from Tour de France, team delighted with debut

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He’s ridden above his 21 years thus far in the race, and was involved in several breakaways including Saturday’s alpine stage to Risoul, but Simon Yates’ goal of reaching Paris will have to wait another year.

The talented British climber told CyclingTips in recent days that he hoped to complete the race but would take things day by day; this was echoed by Orica-GreenEdge team manager Shayne Bannan. The decision has now been taken that Sunday’s fifteenth stage was his last in this year’s Tour.

“It was a once in a lifetime opportunity with the start in Yorkshire,” said Yates in a team statement, confirming that he will not continue after Monday’s rest day.

“Almost in my home training base basically and it’s something I will never forget for the rest of my life.

“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.”

Yates was away for most of Saturday’s stage and while he was caught on the final climb, he held on for a very solid 25th.

Bannan told CyclingTips that he was impressed by the performance, and what he had done overall in the race.

“It is fantastic…when you consider he is just 21 years of age and this is his first Tour de France,” he stated.

“It is hard enough for the seasoned professionals to get in the breaks, like Simon achieved. So the experience that he is gaining and the maturity he is showing is very special. He has certainly earned the respect from the guys.”

Yates said that Risoul stage was the high point of his participation in the Tour.

“Racing wise, yesterday in the breakaway, I felt really good,” he said. “I got away in a big group, I think there were 17 away in the end, and just got caught in the final climb again.

“But going back to the experience thing, 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.”

Directeur sportif Matt White said that he ranked the young rider’s performance ‘ten out of ten’ on the scale.

“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.”

Bannan confirmed to CyclingTips that Yates’ brother Adam, who won the Presidential Tour of Turkey, finished fifth in the Tour of California and was sixth in the Critérium du Dauphiné, is a rider who could make his own Grand Tour debut this year.

“He is certainly on our long list for the Vuelta. I think if he gets the opportunity to ride, it would again be a fantastic experience to ride a Grand Tour in your first year, without expectation.”

He also said that the team was banking on the two brothers and other young riders when looking towards the future. He ruled out major signings for next season.

“I think it will be a fairly similar team to this year,” he confirmed. “We have got a lot of belief in our younger riders coming through…the Yates brothers, Chaves, Durbridge, Hepburn. So we have an extraordinary depth of young talent. Our job is to really nurture that through.”

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