Simon Yates to transition to stage-hunting mode following Giro d’Italia losses

Matt White confirms Simon Yates will continue in Giro and entire team will 'change the chip' to chase stage wins after GC ambitions are lost.

Photo: Michael Steele/Getty Images

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Simon Yates is turning the page on his Blockhaus implosion and will switch into stage-hunting mode to try to take something out of this Giro d’Italia.

BikeExchange-Jayco sport director Matt White confirmed to VeloNews that Yates will stay in the Giro to get something out of all the hard work and preparation that’s gone into the season’s first grand tour.

“Simon stays in the Giro. Now we have to readjust our goals,” White told VeloNews on Tuesday before the start of stage 10.

“He worked incredibly hard and he was in great shape, but it was the knee, the heat, and a combination of things, and it just didn’t work out,” White said. “Now it’s time to change the mentality and change that chip. We’ve done that as a team, and now we’re ready for the rest of this Giro.”

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After barreling into this Giro with victory in the Budapest time trial, many inside the bunch saw Yates as one of the strongest and most dangerous challengers for the pink jersey.

Yates was demoralized following a rough stage at the decisive Blockhaus summit that saw him lose 11:15 to the leaders. A combination of a nagging knee injury, heat, and an intense pace set by rivals Ineos Grenadiers saw the stage 2 winner lose contact early.

Now 25th overall, Yates’s hopes of finally winning the corsa rosa in what’s his fifth Giro start are shattered, at least for this year.

“Any time you put so much effort to prepare and make this many sacrifices for a race, of course you’re going to be upset,” White said. “If you’re not upset then something is wrong.”

Yates collapsed in disappointment at the line Sunday at Blockhaus as journalists crowded in for a word. Monday’s rest day came at a good moment for the everyone to take stock and hit the reset button.

“Everyone processes things in their way,” White said. “We have a debrief after every stage, and we talk every day after each stage, and Sunday was no different. We left them alone on Monday and they enjoyed their rest day. Now we’re back into their racing.”

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White said it’s too early to consider if Yates might go to the Tour de France, saying the team is focusing on “what we have here right now.”

Doctors are also monitoring Yates’s knee, and confirmed he will stay in the Giro right now.

“The health of our athletes is always the first priority,” White said. “Our medical team would not want to him start if there were any issues.”

White said there’s something to be gained by staying in the race and hunting stage wins.

“We have to look to different goals,” White said. “We haven’t got a sprinter here, so we will take it day-by-day, and reassess what we want to do. There is still plenty of Giro left.”

Is too much time lost to make a resurgence in the final week? White said the top teams would never let Yates back into the fray.

“No teams will let him back into the race again,” he said. “You saw that with [Tom] Dumoulin the other day. He got several minutes, and Ineos started pulling. They would do the same thing to Simon.

“There are different scenarios in stages every day. There are a few things to spice things up, but the terrain this week is a little bit easier before the back end of the Giro,” he said. “And then it’s the big weekend and straight into the final week. The third week of the Giro is always heavy.”

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