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.
“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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