No pressure on Adam Yates for GC result at Tour de France

Young Brit to target stage wins as one of three protected riders in balanced Orica-GreenEDGE line-up

Orica-GreenEDGE insist there will be no pressure on Adam Yates to achieve a strong general classification result at the 2016 Tour de France, with stage wins the Australian team’s target.

Bury-born Yates, 23, prepares for his second Tour de France as one of three protected on the Orica-GreenEDGE team, alongside Simon Gerrans and Michael Matthews.

And directeur sportif Matt White – who saw his team lose three riders to injury on the second day of last year’s race – says the team will approach every day like a Classic having selected a balanced nine-man team for the race.

Adam Yates, right, looked in impressive form at the Criterium du Dauphine, only narrowly missing out on the white jersey (pic: Sirotti)

“We have a great degree of flexibility, experience and talent in the team for the Tour,” White said. “I am happy with the combination of riders and it gives us an exciting mix of options for the three weeks ahead.”

“Our objective is to target stage wins and we will be approaching every day like it’s a classic. We have a robust, versatile roster that can cope with the big effort required to compete and win in the Tour de France.”

Yates made his Tour de France debut last year, picking up three top-ten finishes before going on to win the Clasica San Sebastian a week after the Tour finished.

He was fourth at the Tour de Yorkshire and seventh at the Criterium du Dauphine in his last two races, but White insists at 23 years old, the Tour is still about building up experience.

“Adam will be our guy for the mountains,” he said. “There is no pressure to compete for the overall, that’s not our objective.

“One door closes and another opens, there are lots of stages that will suit Adam in this year’s race.

“He is only 23 and this is a vital part of Adam’s progression. He is versatile and can go head-to-head with the best of the climbers and this experience will be important for him.”

Yates’ twin brother Simon misses the race however, as a result of a UCI sanction after an administrative error by the team led to a failed doping test.

Instead, Orica-GreenEDGE have a hugely experienced line-up set to start the race on Saturday (July 2), including 38-year-old Paris-Roubaix winner Mat Hayman who will serve as road captain.

Gerrans, 36, wore the yellow jersey in 2013 and will bid for more success this time out, while Ruben Plaza, 36, and Michael Albasini, 35, also ramp up the team’s average age.

Matthews has worn the leader’s jersey at both the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana, meanwhile, and will hope for more luck at the Tour than last time out when he suffered bad injuries in the stage two crash.

Though Matthews continued to race, with broken ribs, White admitted the race had been ‘somewhat of a disaster’ and the Australian could be in with a shot of pulling on the yellow jersey on one of the first few stages this year.

White added: “[Matthews] is super motivated to perform well here for the first time on the biggest stage in the world.”

Michael Matthews was in great form at Paris-Nice and could be a contender to pull on the yellow jersey at the Tour de France (pic: Sirotti)

The Orica-GreenEDGE team is completed by Luke Durbridge – the fourth Australian on the team – Danish debutant Christopher Juul-Jensen and South African Daryl Impey, who also wore the yellow jersey in 2013.

Orica-GreenEDGE for the 2013 Tour de France

Michael Albasini (SUI)
Luke Durbridge (AUS)
Simon Gerrans (AUS)
Mat Hayman (AUS)
Daryl Impey (RSA)
Christopher Juul-Jensen (DEN)
Michael Matthews (AUS)
Ruben Plaza (ESP)
Adam Yates (GBR)

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