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Simon Yates has his sights set on the Giro d’Italia and the Olympics for 2020, his Mitchelton-Scott team announced Monday.
“Last year I just felt I never really got to the level that I expect of myself, I want to go back in the best shape possible and try again,” Yates said of returning to the Giro. “That, and along with the Olympics coming so close to the Tour de France this year; I believe the best way to approach the Olympics would be to do the Giro.”
In preparation for a busy spring and summer, Yates will open his season in Australia at the Tour Down Under for the first time in his career. The race will mark his return to competition after a lengthy offseason break; Yates ended his 2019 campaign in August.
“After competing in both the Giro and the Tour last season, I was extremely tired and so we decided as a team to stop earlier than normal to give myself the best possible preparation for 2020,” he said.
The 2018 Vuelta a España winner will likely be among the top climbers on the start list at the Tour Down Under, and could therefore be a handy lieutenant for defending champion Daryl Impey or a contender himself.
“Daryl has found the winning formula and so we know how to approach the race. I will be there to support him or take my chance as they arise,” Yates said.
“Of course the more climbing the better for myself personally, but regardless, I think as a team we can go in there fully focused to win.”
Following the Tour Down Under, Yates will race the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and the Jayco Herald Sun Tour. He will then set his sights on building into form for the Giro in the spring.
Yates will be making his third straight Giro start next year. He rode to three stage wins at the 2018 edition of the race and wore the pink jersey for 13 stages before dropping out of GC contention in a disastrous final week. In 2019, he finished eighth overall.
“The 2020 route is a very traditional course with a lot of time trailing kilometers, and many high altitude mountain passes. We will have to prepare for anything to happen,” Yates said.
“The aim is to have the condition and shape that I know I can have, and give everything I have, which I hope will give me the best possible chance of winning.”
However next year’s Giro plays out, Yates expects to then target the Tokyo Olympics, where the hilly route of the road race should suit his strong climbing legs.