ORICA-GreenEDGE is thrilled to announce that Adam and Simon Yates have signed their neo-pro contracts with the Australian outfit. The identical twins have had an outstanding year underscored by their success at the Tour de l’Avenir and Tour of Britain. Unsurprisingly, the British duo fielded a number of offers, ultimately deciding to join the professional ranks with the GreenEDGE family.
“This was our first choice,” said Adam. “When we decided to turn pro next year, we knew GreenEDGE was one of the best teams for us both. It’s a good opportunity in terms of development. From everything we’ve heard and seen, we know the team looks after their young guys very well.”
“We did have quite a few offers,” Simon confirmed. “This seemed like the right place for us. Knowing the way the team has developed the other young Aussies was an important part of our decision. Look at Cam Meyer. He came from the track just like us, and he’s already achieved quite a lot on the road. We’d love to develop the way he has.
”The 21-year-old twins began racing on the track ten years ago when their father brought them to the Manchester Velodrome for local Friday night racing. The young boys quickly fell in love with cycling but it wasn’t until this year that their place in the sport became obvious.
“We both started on the track and very slowly worked our way up the ladder,” said Simon, who won the points race at the World Championships in Minsk, Belarus last February. “We didn’t have an exceptional start. There was absolutely nothing remarkable about our early results. It’s not like anyone who saw me race at the beginning would say I would go on to win a world title.”
“We’ve both switched our focus to the road much more this year,” Adam explained. “We’ve put in a lot of work. The results have just taken off from there, really.”
Adam understates. He came in second overall at the Tour de l’Avenir; second in all of the classements. In a three up sprint on stage five, Adam finished second to his twin. Simon’s stage win in Morzine, just ahead of Adam, was followed by a second stage win the following day. He finished tenth overall at the race billed as the “Mini Tour de France.” Simon backed up the result by winning a stage at the Tour of Britain where he faced far stiffer competition amongst a professional field.
The list of former Tour de l’Avenir winners or runners up read like a who’s who of young professional cycling. Nairo Quintana, Andrew Talansky, Jan Bakelants, Rui Costa, Tejay Van Garderen, Robert Gesink, Bauke Mollema and Tony Martin have all stood on the podium at the Race of the Future. It’s not a huge leap to suggest Simon and Adam’s results in France project far greater things to come when they turn professional.
“Adam and Simon had an outstanding Tour de l’Avenir,” said General Manager Shayne Bannan. “Simon won two mountains stages, and Adam finished second overall. It’s indication of their climbing abilities, and this is an area we really want to develop within the team. It’s clear they’re both big talents. We’re very excited to be a part of their development.”
It’s that commitment to development that is most attractive to Simon and Adam. Both are modest in their ambitions for their neo-pro year, insisting they are eager to learn, support and grow without specific personal objectives.
“I’m not really ready to name my own aspirations,” said Simon. “I see these first years as being all about development. I want to help the team however I can and absorb as much as I can in the process. There will be time later to hone in on my own goals.”
“I’m really focused on development,” said Adam. “That’s the key thing for me next year. In the second year, I hope there might be an opportunity to ride a Grand Tour. I can’t name anything much more specific than that until I see how things go the first year.”
“I expect them to develop fairly quickly,” added Bannan. “They’ve spent a number of years racing in Europe already, so their progression is rather advanced. I’m confident that we’ll see some really good things from them in the future.”
Having raced on separate trade teams on the road during the past two years, Adam and Simon are excited to reunite. While able to excel alone, they believe they’re at their best when they have the opportunity to race together.
“We’ve been apart now for a couple years,” said Adam. “It’s never been a struggle, but it’s always better for us when we’re together. We each got a few offers from other teams that were just for one of us. The best options were the ones from teams that we’re keen on us both.”
“It was pretty important for us to find a team together,” reiterated Simon, when posed the same question. “Obviously, we can be apart, but it’s a lot easier in a lot of regards when we’re together.”
Photo: Jered Gruber