When Adam Yates was asked at the UAE Tour pre-race press conference on Sunday if he remembered the last time he’d done a team time trial, you could almost hear him scratching his head as he tried hard to recollect the occasion.
“That’s a good question, my friend,” he said, before giving up on the answer. “I really don’t remember. But I do know I’ve won one, back in 2019 in Tirreno-Adriatico.”
But for all Yates’ uncertainty with his TTT participation record – on checking, his last was in the 2019 Tour de France – it turns out the 2023 UAE Tour contender’s recollection of a TTT victory four years ago was spot on. And he knows exactly what his tactic will be on Tuesday’s key 17.2 kilometre exercise in the speciality, too.
“Normally the time differences aren’t so big [in an individual time trial] but in this case it could make the difference between winning and losing outright,” Yates told a small group of reporters.”
“But it’s not so easy for me, because I’m 10 kilos lighter than the next person. So I’ll just try and hold the wheel of the other guys and hopefully I’ll stay with them to the finish.”
The TTT speciality accentuated the challenges of a lightly built climber racing against the clock, he explained, because “If it was an individual time trial, it’d be a little bit easier for me, I’d just put my head down and go as aero as possible.”
“But in a team time trial, it could be really difficult. So I’ll just try and keep my speed up to the the speed that the other guys set, and”- he says with typically dour humour – “try and keep out of the way.”
Heading the home side in one of their biggest two stage races of the season – together with the Tour de France – in his first race with his new team sounds like a major challenge. But if anybody has the track record to go the distance in 2023, it’s Adam Yates.
“The last three years I’ve been really good here, the first year I won and the next two I came second to arguably the best bike rider in the world” – teammate Tadej Pogačar – “so that gives me a lot of confidence. Obviously, he’s not here this year, but there are a lot of good bike riders here and it’s not going to be easy. So we’ll try our best.”
Asked to compare his condition with when he had his last meet-up with the press back in the UAE training camp in Spain in December, Yates says his winter has been good, and that, he says with a grin, “I’m definitely a lot fitter than I…
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