• Adam Yates at stage 4 of the 2016 Criterium du Dauphine (Sirotti)Source: Sirotti
Adam Yates is leaving “early” contract talks to his manager as he prepares to lead Orica-GreenEdge at the Tour de France next month.
Sophie Smith

Cycling Central
10 Jun 2016 - 10:46 AM  UPDATED 10 Jun 2016 - 11:36 AM

Increased opportunity is a reason Yates and his twin brother Simon turned professional with the Australian registered squad in 2014, and will be presented with at the blue riband Grand Tour.

The 23-year-old is a face of the team’s relatively new Grand Tour general classification focus and is set to be afforded free reign to pursue the overall in the name of experience.

“I wouldn’t say ‘leading’ but it’s always exciting doing something different,” he said.

“The past few Grand Tours I’ve always ridden for stages and gone for breaks. It’s going to be much of the same this year but I think for the first week we’re going to try and not lose too much time.”

Yates is currently racing at the Criterium du Dauphine in preparation for the assault and sits seventh, 31 seconds down on overall leader Alberto Contador (Tinkoff), after four days. The Briton is bumping shoulders with a deep field including Contador, defending race and Tour champion Chris Froome (Sky) as well as Richie Porte (BMC).

“All things considered I feel like I’m going pretty good and the condition is there so we’ll see what happens the rest of the week,” Yates said.

“If I can get up there and try and do something that’s fantastic but if not there’s no stress, no pressure.

“I think everyone is in the same boat, everyone is peaking for the Tour, benchmarking themselves against each other,” he added.

The Yates brothers were a source of transfer speculation last year with talks for 2017 and beyond rumoured then.

Orica-GreenEdge general manager Shayne Bannan has previously said the team is keen to keep the pair as it further orientates itself toward general classification success. The outfit made significant inroads to that last month with 26-year-old Colombian Esteban Chaves finishing second overall at the Giro d’Italia.

“It’s early talks but at the moment I’m happy where I am,” Yates said. “We’ll see what happens. At the moment there’s no deep, long talks about it, it’s all beginning.”

Altus Sports manager Gary McQuaid said Yates has garnered interest from teams, referring to a string of results including victory at San Sebastian last year.

“Right now talks are ongoing,” McQuaid said. “As a rider, Adam has a lot going for him. He's still only 23 and has shown himself to be one of the most exciting climbing talents around.”

Yates made his race debut at the Tour last year finishing 50th after a top 20 performance at the preceding Dauphine.

“The Yates boys, what they’ve done in the first two years with us has been incredible,” sports director Matt White said. “Whether they turn into three-week stage race winners or not we’ll see but they’ve only done one or two Grand Tours and they’re three years younger than Esteban, so you can’t really compare their trajectories.

“Esteban hadn’t done a Grand Tour at 23 and now he has run second in one at 26 whereas the Yates’, they’ve got a couple more to go before we actually realise what their potential is going to be in three week races,” he continued. “They’ve already proven, Adam wining San Sebastian, Simon running top 10 in multiple WorldTour events, they can do it over the one-day and one-week races.

"Will they be three week GC contenders? Time will tell. One thing for sure, they’re world class climbers.”

Yates has observed a similar preparation to the Tour this year as to last. He has not publicly commented on any personal impact from his brother’s outstanding Terbutaline case, attributed to a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) administrative error. 

“Nothing has really changed,” Yates said. “We’re always looking for improvement and [to] take PBs, new power records and all of this before races, but at the end of the day it all depends what you do in the race.

“So far I’ve not had many opportunities to show myself, getting sick, or in Tirreno a stage was cancelled, so this year has felt as if I’ve started a bit slower.

“We’ll see what happens. There is no pressure, if I can pull something off that’s fantastic. You look at Esteban, the way he rode in the Giro, it was the same. There was no pressure going into it, try your best.”