Sixth in his first Vuelta a España in 2016 but 44th last year, this time around Yates comes to the race after a rollercoaster Giro d’Italia, where he led the race for much of the first two weeks this May and won several very tough stages before fading badly on the Colle dell Finestre.
However, an imaginary graph of his build-up to the Vuelta a España, which he has described as “very different” to the Giro in other interviews with Cyclingnews, would show a steady upwards line towards Malaga and the short time trial that opens the race on the evening of Saturday 25th.
In Yates’ return to racing at the Prueba de Vilafranca after the Giro, he finished second behind a teammate Robert Power. Then on his return to World Tour events in August, he forged a lone breakaway and solo win on the Tour de Pologne’s toughest hilly stage just under a fortnight ago. Had Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) weakened a little earlier on the last ascent to Bukowina, Yates would have been Britain’s first winner of the Eastern European event.
“I’ve done a long and slow progression to where I am today, I did the Tour of Poland and was getting better every day, managed to win the last stage and the signs are good, the sensations are good,” Simon Yates told reporters on Thursday in the start city of Malaga. “I’m looking forward to getting underway here.”
Mitchelton-Scott arguably have the strongest all-around team at this year’s Vuelta, too, with Matteo Trentin, the winner of four stages in 2017, in the mix for the sprints, and a plethora of climbing firepower to support Yates.
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