Chris Froome is always the man to beat, Adam Yates says ahead of Tour de France

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Simon Yates‘ success at the Giro d’Italia has convinced twin brother Adam he is capable of doing something similar at the Tour de France.

Simon wore the leaders’ pink jersey for 13 days of the Giro, winning three stages, before cracking in the final few days as Chris Froome used a daring attack on stage 19 to set up overall victory.

It is now Adam’s turn to challenge Froome as he targets the general classification of the Tour, and the 25-year-old will head to France confident he can make a similar impact.

Just as they did for Simon at the Giro, Mitchelton-Scott have named a Tour team focused solely on the general classification, opting to leave sprinter Caleb Ewan at home.

“Obviously (Simon) did a really good race, not just him but the whole team,” Yates said. “We probably sent a full team of climbers to a Grand Tour for the first time and focused solely on the GC…

“They held the lead for pretty much two weeks and they were winning stages left, right and centre, so why can’t we take that confidence and replicate the same situation in the Tour?

“They’ve shown they can do it so why can’t we?”

The last time Adam rode in the Tour in 2016, he finished fourth overall and won the young riders’ classification. Now the goal is the podium, and trying to challenge pre-race favourite Froome, who is seeking a fourth straight title and fifth overall.

Yates said he had ‘no opinion’ on whether or not Froome should be in the race while the case surrounding his adverse analytical finding for Salbutamol at La Vuelta rumbles on, but asked how to beat the Team Sky rider, Yates could only laugh.

Christopher Froome

“Good question. He’s pretty good, isn’t he?” he said. “He’s come out of the Giro so hopefully he’s a bit tired. But he’s the man to beat.

“He’s always the man to beat. They’re going to have a super strong team for the team time trial, in time trials he goes good himself and then on the climbs he’s the best in the world most days.

“He’s difficult to beat but I’m happy with my preparation, and how training is going, and with the team I’ve got around me. I’ll be looked after pretty well so hopefully we can try something.”

The general classification hopefuls need not only beat each other, they must also defeat a route which has been designed to leave dangers lurking everywhere, not just in the mountains.

An opening week which could well be plagued by crosswinds concludes on the cobbled roads to Roubaix, and a stage which certainly caught Yates’ attention on a recon ride earlier this year.

“I’m not going to lie, it’s worse than I thought it was going to be…” he said. “It’s pretty full on. In the last 50km you’re on and off the cobbles all the way to the finish. It’s going to be tough but I’ve got a good team around me and we have to get through the best we can.”

This has been a season of ups and downs for Yates, who won a stage and finished fifth at Tirreno-Adriatico early in the season before being sidelined by a fractured pelvis suffered at the Volta a Catalunya.

“At first I couldn’t bend my leg so obviously it was pretty serious,” he said. “But I got on the home trainer after 10 days, just pedalling, and it all came back pretty quickly.”

He returned in time for a confidence-boosting outing at the Tour of California before riding to second place overall and a stage win in the Criterium du Dauphine.

“California was good even though it wasn’t a super-strong field, I was still up there being competitive,” he said. “Then in the Criterium I felt stronger, performed a little better. Everything is coming along nicely and slotting into place.”

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UAE Team Emirates Dan Martin to target general classification at Tour de France

David Cooper 29/06/2018
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Dan Martin will target the general classification at the Tour de France but his UAE Team Emirates squad will have split ambitions with sprinter Alexander Kristoff also named in the squad.

Irishman Martin is looking to build on his 2017 performance when he finished sixth in the Tour despite racing for almost two weeks with two broken vertebrae in his back after a crash on stage nine.

“Since I signed for Team UAE, the big goal has been the Tour de France,” said Martin, who last year rode for Quick-Step Floors.

“I plan to take the race day by day, stage by stage and try to achieve the best results possible. It’s really a race of two halves and the first nine days will be very tricky bringing different challenges each day, but I’m confident we have a great team that can get me to the mountains in a good position to have a bit of fun.”

Martin has had some encouraging results in the build-up to the race, finishing 10th overall in the Tour de Romandie and fourth in the Criterium du Dauphine.

“Everything has gone well since the Dauphine and I’m just looking forward to getting started,” he said.

There is no place for Yorkshireman Ben Swift in the team, with ambitions split between Martin’s general classification bid and European champion Kristoff in the sprints.

“This is the biggest race in the world.” Kristoff said. “The event where you get all the best cyclists, the best sprinters. I am going to France determined to get the best result possible and, if possible, a stage victory.”

The eight-man team is completed by Marco Mercato, Rory Sutherland, Roberto Ferrari, Oliviero Troia, Darwin Atapuma and Kristijan Durasek.

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Mark Cavendish in Dimension Data squad for Tour de France

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Mark Cavendish will continue his pursuit of Eddy Merckx’s all-time record for stage wins at the Tour de France but there is no place for Steve Cummings in the Team Dimension Data squad.

Cavendish has 30 career Tour de France stage wins, four short of the record held by five-time overall winner Merckx, and will take his place on the start line of the Tour for the 12th time.

The 33-year-old Manxman has battled a series of illnesses and injuries since winning four stages in the 2016 Tour, seeing his race ended by a crash on stage four last year, but is optimistic of making up more ground on Merckx.

“I’m so excited to be able to ride the Tour de France again in my career, for the third time in Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka,” Cavendish said.

“The Tour de France is not only the biggest cycling event on the planet but it’s one of the biggest sporting events on the planet; and it’s the best platform to get across what we as Team Dimension Data do for our charity Qhubeka, to get people in rural parts of Africa on bicycles.

“I’m excited to be part of a strong team and I’ll be looking at getting closer to that record of Eddie Merckx.”

Cummings, who won stages of the Tour in 2016 and 2017, misses out after a season disrupted by allergies. The 37-year-old was sidelined for several weeks after the Tour de Romandie at the start of May, returning for the Criterium du Dauphine earlier this month.

Instead, Dimension Data have gone with a team focused on delivering Cavendish to the front on sprint stages, with his long-time team-mate Mark Renshaw joined by Julien Vermote, Edvald Bassoon Hagen and Reinhardt Janse van Rensburg.

Serge Pauwels, winner of the 2017 Tour de Yorkshire and third in this year’s edition, is also included along with Tom Jelte-Slagter and South African Jay Thomson.

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