Orica-GreenEDGE retired Simon Yates early from his first Tour de France, keeping an eye on the young rider's development for races to come.
...it really has been surreal, a really good experience and I hope to be back here in a year to come.
The 21 year old has more than impressed his Orica-GreenEDGE colleagues during his debut Tour, which started in Yorkshire, not far from the British rider’s family home.
He went on to spend two days in head-turning breakaways during the opening fortnight of the epic race.
Thanks for all the kind words everyone! Tough day out! I will try again on another stage!!! #tdf— Simon Yates (@SimonYatess) July 12, 2014
The neo-pro, who was the youngest rider in the Tour when he retired ahead of the second rest day, will head home to recover, process the last couple of weeks and build toward another solid block of racing in the latter half of the year.
“It was a once in a lifetime opportunity with the start in Yorkshire,” Yates said.
“Once we got over to France it’s been non-stop really and it really has been surreal, a really good experience and I hope to be back here in a year to come.”
Yates’ departure comes after the high of being in the breakaway in Stage 14 to Risoul.
“Racing wise, yesterday in the breakaway, I felt really good,” he said.
“I got away in a big group, I think there were 17 away in the end, and just got caught in the final climb again."
After the long day in the break on Stage 14, Yates' commented that he would keep plugging away with hopes for a team win the following week. Orica-GreenEDGE's decision to withdraw the young rider from the race appears to have been made since this time. The decision reflects a focus on Yates' development as a rider, which includes preventing an early burn-out for the ambitious and talented cyclist.
The team’s sport director Matt White was thrilled with Yates’ debut on the biggest stage of world cycling and said there are many reasons to be excited about what is to come for the young rider.
“Ten out of ten,” White said when asked to rate Yates’ performance.
“For a 21-year-old neo-pro, he contributed every day, everything he could do.
“Making one break in the Tour de France is an achievement but to make a couple and the way he has gone about the whole Tour de France experience is a great sign for the future.
“Yes, it would be nice for him to finish the Tour, but it was a group decision that enough is enough and we have a lot of goals for him in the second half of the season.”
Cycling Central visited Yates' parents before the Tour's Grand Depart.