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Double or nothing: an interview with Adam and Simon Yates

Just 21 years old, the Yates twins have decided to make the step to the World Tour level after a successful 2013 season, in which Simon won the world title on the track, two stages in the Tour de l‘Avenir and one in the Tour of Britain, while Adam finished second overall in the Avenir, the first British rider to do so in more than 30 years. In September, they announced their transfer to Orica-GreenEdge, a decision which surprised many, because Sky was also very interested in signing them.

What will follow now? The pre-season team camp, some hard training, and of course, their debut in the pro peloton, next February. Even if they are very young, don’t be surprised if Adam and Simon Yates will have some strong results in 2014, as we’re talking about two of the most talented neo-pros in the World Tour. This being said, I invite you to know them better.

Question Adam Yates Simon Yates
Why did you choose cycling? It started out just a bit of fun at the Velodrome in Manchester, just messing around and having a laugh and once we got hooked, we couldn’t stop going. After a few years we started up on the road and we haven’t looked back! I loved riding my bike from an early age, but I never did any competitive racing. My Dad, a keen cyclist himself, went to watch some friends race on the velodrome in Manchester and me and my brother Adam went with him. It looked like great fun and we both wanted a go! I booked a session a few weeks later and haven’t looked back since.
What’s the best advice you’ve received? Never really had a certain piece of advice that really sticks out or that I could say was the “best advice”. Over the years, growing up, you meet some real characters who give you hints and tips here and there, pointing you in the right direction, but ultimately I try to do my own thing or what I feel is best for me. My parents always give the best advice. One that has stuck with me throughout my short career is, “Always go to the line, never give up”, which came from my Dad!
Is there a rider you admire? It’s got to be Joaquim Rodriquez; when I first started getting serious with cycling and watching it on TV, I can remember watching a stage of Tirreno-Adriatico a few years ago and one of the stages finished on a steep climb which he won in emphatic style. Ever since then I’ve wanted to win races like that and turn myself into that style of rider. My favorite rider is Joaquim Rodriquez. I would love to develop into a similar type of ride! Also, being British, I can’t forget Bradley Wiggins, the first British winner of the Tour de France, so he is a huge inspiration.
What races would you like to win as a pro? At the moment I don’t have any real goals, just have to find my place in the peloton before I can state any ambitions, but in the future I would like to have a go at some of the classics like Liège–Bastogne–Liège, Flèche Wallonne or Il Lombardia, and once I have improved as a rider then I can try to target a Grand Tour, but as I said, it’s a long way to go before I can start thinking about winning races like that. I would love to do well in the Ardennes Classics and I think every rider dreams of riding the Tour de France! Hopefully after a few years developing in the pro ranks I will find the races which suit me, and hopefully I can gain the experience and trust of my teammates to be able to target these race.
What are your main strengths? Definitely the climbs. I’m a small rider, around 58-59 kg, so the hillier terrain comes a bit more naturally. I’m not too bad at the steeper ones, but generally I prefer the long steady climbs. My weakness would be the crosswinds, even though I’m still fairly strong on the flat, the fighting for position and maneuvering yourself through the bunch can be a bit difficult. I would describe myself as a punchy climber, with only having a small build I don’t weigh that much, but because I have a background in track racing I am quite quick.
Do you have any superstitions? Not really. No, you make your own luck.
Most important result so far? I’ve had some decent top 10s this year in big races, but for U23 riders the big goal is the Tour de l’Avenir, so I would have to say my 2nd overall in Tour de l’Avenir is my biggest result so far. It was the one big result to really get my name out and show everyone what I can do when I have some form. I’ve been strong in other races, but either had back luck with crashes or got sick the week beforehand, but at l’Avenir everything just came together on the day. My world title on the track is probably my biggest result to date, I grew up wanting to be worlds points race champion, so it’s a dream come true! Then again, my Tour of Britain stage win is also a huge result!
Being identical twins, when one of you has a good or bad day on the road, does this has an influence on the other? Nothing really changes, this year when we raced whoever was strongest got the go ahead to be leader if the course suited us and at the end of the day it’s all about just putting the effort in and trying our best to win, so if that means one of us has a bad day we can help each other out then it wouldn’t be a problem. An example would be stage four of l’Avenir, which finished on the Col de Madeleine. Simon wasn’t feeling great, so he protected me from the wind the whole stage and I managed to come away 3rd and then a few days later his form returned and I helped him with two stages. Not really, being a bike rider you have to be able to adapt to different situations on the road whilst racing, so although I would like him to do a good ride, it doesn’t influence me otherwise.

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