Adam Yates will race alongside twin brother Simon at the Vuelta a Espana, Australian team Mitchelton-Scott have announced.
Simon had long planned to take part in the final Grand Tour of the season following his starring role at the Giro d’Italia in May, but a change to Adam’s race programme will see him head to Spain as well after he fell short of his targets at the Tour de France.
The team plan is for Adam to ride in support of Simon, who will be the designated leader at the race which starts in Malaga on August 25. It is rare for the 26-year-old twins to compete in the same race, though they both started their seasons at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana.
“The Vuelta a Espana wasn’t originally on my programme but together with the management we came to the decision that doing the Vuelta after the Tour would be another good chance to get some experience in riding multiple Grand Tours in one year,” Adam said.
“It’s pretty difficult to replicate the fatigue of a Grand Tour in training so the opportunity of riding the Vuelta without the stress of riding GC will be a good step towards gaining more experience not just in racing over three weeks but also in following all the routines and day-to-day stuff that goes on in a Grand Tour.”
Adam finished fourth on the 2016 Tour, winning the young riders’ classification, but cracked during the Alpine stages in this year’s race – something he put down to dehydration – and ultimately finished over an hour behind winner Geraint Thomas in 29th place.
Simon spent 13 days in the leader’s pink jersey at the Giro in May, but faded badly on Stage 19 as Chris Froome launched an audacious attack which propelled him to overall victory.
He will again target the General Classification but both brothers, who recently signed new two-year deals with the team, are also looking towards September’s World Championships in Innsbruck.
Simon said: “My preparation has been very different to the Giro d’Italia because like a few guys that will line up in Spain, I have one eye on the World Championships later this year so it will be interesting to see how my body responses but as always I’ll give it my all to achieve a great result.”
The Emirati national champion will be riding in support of Diego Ulissi as the team takes on the BinckBank Tour from August 13-19.
Italian Ulissi will go into the stage race as a team leader who is full of confidence, knowing he is the second highest ranked rider in the peloton for the annual tour through the Netherlands and Belgium.
As well as Mirza, Ulissi will be joined by fellow Italian riders Filippo Ganna and Manuele Mori, Briton Ben Swift, Jan Polanc from Slovenia and young Belarussian star Alexandr Riabushenko.
The team will be guided by an Italian duo of sports directors, Daniele Righi and Marco Marzano.
Commenting ahead of the race, Righi said: “The riders with the skills that can most likely make it to the top part of the classification are Ulissi, who proved to be in good shape last weekend in the Clasica de San Sebastian, and Riabushenko, a young rider with excellent potential for this type of race.
“The faster stages will present Swift with significant chances to try to make it back into the more prestigious spots in the stage classification and, if there should be any breakaways, Polanc will be ready to show off his strength.
“The time trial will take place on a route that isn’t ideal for Ganna, however he will provide valuable backup for his team mates during the tour, along with Mori and Mirza – who is coming off a period of training with his national team.
“He spent several days riding on the track, focusing on work that should help him find the right pedal stroke to lead out Swift in the approach to the sprints; he will also be giving his usual support to the entire team during each individual stage.”
Now in its 13th edition, the BinckBank Tour – formerly known as the Eneco Tour – is famed for its undulating terrain, short steep hills and cobbled sections, giving it the feel of a Spring Classic in the summer months.
Traditionally, the route has featured a combination of climbs from the Amstel Gold Race, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Tour of Flanders, making it an ideal tour for classics riders and hilly specialists.
This year’s seven stages feature four flat routes ranging from 165.5km to 209.2kms in distance, a 12.7km individual time trial and two hilly courses of 182.2km and 209.5km, which traverse through the Netherlands and Belgium respectively.
Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas says he is on the verge of signing a new deal at Team Sky.
Thomas, whose Team Sky contract is about to expire, revealed he had been courted by rival teams after winning Le Tour last month.
But the 32-year-old, back in his hometown Cardiff where thousands turned out to celebrate his Tour de France success, said: “I’ve made my mind up (about staying) in my head really and just need to get it done officially.
“It’s nice to have some good offers but hopefully it will be done in the coming days.”
New team CCC WorldTour revealed on Wednesday that they had launched a bid to sign Thomas for 2019.
The Polish outfit is the result of a merger between CCC Sprandi Polkowice and BMC Racing, and sports director Piotr Wadecki announced their intentions to build their Tour de France team around Thomas.
“There’s obviously a lot of good teams out there,” Thomas said.
“I respect them and I wanted to hear what they had to say.
“But I’m happy in the team I’m at and it works for me.
“I feel a real part of it. I grew up in the system and known them all since I was 17.”
Thomas took over the mantle of Team Sky’s lead rider at the 2018 Tour de France after proving stronger than fellow Briton Chris Froome.
Four-time Le Tour winner Froome ended up in the role of support rider, finishing third as Thomas became the first Welshman to win cycling’s greatest prize.
“I think the way we rode this year was the right way to go about it,” Thomas said.
“We’re both honest and open with each other, we’re good mates and that hasn’t changed.
“I think it can work again if the roles were reversed next year.
“Obviously I would be disappointed as Froomey was because you want to win. But then again if Froomey is stronger then you do your bit.
“It was obviously a great month for me, but the surprising thing was being able to do it day in and day out, and not feel under pressure that I was going to lose the race.”
Thousands gathered outside the Senedd in Cardiff Bay and at Cardiff Castle to celebrate Thomas’ success, the winner of the prized yellow jersey completing the final few hundred yards of his journey in the city centre on his bicycle.
“You dream about winning races and holding your arms up in the air, but you never think about what happens after that,” Thomas said.
“We were down at the Senedd, and you think ‘this is where everyone has come and there will be no-one at the Castle’.
“But then I had this at the Castle as well, and to see the pride and passion of people is mad.
“It’s hard getting your head around it that this is all for me.”