• Simon Yates gets a call up to Tour de France duties. (AAP)Source: AAP
Orica-Scott is confident Esteban Chaves has recovered from his knee injury, but are unsure how he will perform in the Tour de France.
Cycling Central

21 Apr 2017 - 7:31 AM 

Esteban Chaves's knee injury has forced Australian cycling team Orica-Scott to change their Tour de France plans.

Simon Yates will switch from next month's Giro d'Italia to the 1 July Tour, easing the pressure on the Colombian ace.

Chaves was to have been the sole team leader at the Tour de France. The knee injury, however, means Orica-Scott are unsure about his form.

"We are confident that Esteban has made a full recovery from his knee injury and is now back into his Tour de France preparation," sport director Matt White said in a statement.

"What we don't know at the moment is how that time off and lack of racing will affect his performance over the three weeks (of the Tour)."

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After outstanding results last year from Chaves and the Yates twins, Simon and Adam, the Australian team have approached this season with lofty Grand Tour ambitions.

Chaves had a breakthrough season last year, finishing runner-up in the Giro and third in the Vuelta a España.

Adam Yates was fourth in the Tour de France and Simon was sixth in the Vuelta.

The three riders are spearheading Orica-Scott's ultimate goal, to win a Grand Tour and the Tour de France in particular.

In February, they announced the Yates brothers would spearhead their Giro team, with Chaves to make his Tour de France debut.

Then, the three Grand Tour contenders would line up together at the September Vuelta a España.

Now, Simon Yates will also line up at Sunday's Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic as he prepares for his third Tour de France start.

Chaves had started this year well, finishing runner-up at the Tour Down Under, but he has not raced since late January.

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"The Tour de France is the biggest race of the year and we have been able to come up with a plan that will benefit our young GC riders, and the team ambitions for the season," White said.

"The pressure on Esteban will be eased a bit as he prepares for his (Tour) debut.

"The new program will give Simon and Adam both opportunities to look at white jerseys (as the best young rider) this year, Adam at the Giro and Simon at the Tour de France.

"That is something we will certainly be aiming for as we ride for the best general classification results possible for our young climbers."

Orica-Scott will reassess their Vuelta plans after the Tour de France.