Yates won Stage 1 and Stage 3 at the Vuelta Asturias, a mountainous stage race that’s used by climbers and general classification hopefuls as a key tune-up before the Giro.
On the opening stage Yates scored a spectacular solo win on his TCR Advanced SL Disc team bike, attacking on the final climb to beat second-place finisher Vincenzo Albanese by 14 seconds. The team performed flawlessly, controlling an early breakaway and setting Yates up perfectly to make his move in the closing kilometers.
“In the finale, we kept the pace high to avoid some attacks and be in the top positions at the start of the last climb,” said Yates, who wore the recently introduced Surge Pro shoes and Rev Pro helmet to take the win. “[My teammate] Damien Howson made a move, got a gap, and then I attacked over the top. The sensations are good, and the legs responded very well.”
Yates backed up that victory with another win on the final stage. Once again, it was his climbing prowess that gave Yates the winning advantage. And once again, his teammates put him in position to make his move.
“They controlled all day, set me up well for the final attack on the last climb,” Yates said. “So it all went to plan and now we are looking forward to the Giro, which starts already in five days.”
The team’s head sports director Matt White said the three days in Spain served as a confidence builder heading into the Giro. “We walk away with two wins from this race,” White said. “The team is in a really good place, and we built some really good cohesiveness. Now it’s legs up, recover and focus on getting across to Budapest to start the Giro d’Italia.”
Yates enters the 105th edition of the Corsa Rosa with the form and the experience to aim for the win. In 2018 he won four stages at the Giro and spent 13 days in the maglia rosa leader’s jersey. Last year he finished third overall. This year’s route features 51,000 meters of total altitude gain and
only 26.3km of time trial racing, the lowest amount since 1963—stats that climbers like Yates like to see.
The Brit will be supported by a well-balanced squad. Protecting their leader throughout the race will be Australian road captain Michael Hepburn along with experienced riders Callum Scotson, also Australian, and Chris Juul-Jensen of Denmark. U.S. and Italian time trial champions Lawson Craddock and Matteo Sobrero add more firepower, while the Australians Damien Howson and Lucas Hamilton will provide critical support on the climbs.
“From the start in Hungary to the last stage in Verona on May 29, the road will be long and tough," Yates said. "But I’m ready and I will have some great teammates with me."
Team BikeExchange-Jayco Giro d’Italia roster
Lawson Craddock (USA) – 2nd appearance
Lucas Hamilton (AUS) – 3rd appearance
Michael Hepburn (AUS) – 7th appearance
Damien Howson (AUS) – 3rd appearance
Chris Juul-Jensen (DEN) – 7th appearance
Callum Scotson (AUS) – 2nd appearance
Matteo Sobrero (ITA) – 3rd appearance
Simon Yates (GBR) – 5th appearance