Could Ineos’ low-balling of Adam Yates open the window for a BikeExchange return?

Yates has been offered a contract extension but it's below his asking price, while BikeExchange is keeping tabs on the situation.

Photo: Tim de Waele/Getty Images

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Adam Yates was banking on a strong showing at this year’s Tour de France in order earn a new and improved contract at Ineos Grenadiers.

However a case of COVID-19 in the lead up to the race, and further health issues in the second half of the Tour hampered the British rider’s chances with an eventual 10th place finish in Paris.

A place inside the top-ten is nothing to be sniffed at, and teammate Geraint Thomas acknowledged the fact that Yates had sacrificed his own chances of a high GC position in order to support the Welshman in the mountains and an eventual third place overall.

Yates, however, is out of contract at the end of this campaign and according to several sources close to the situation has yet to sign a new deal.

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Part of the problem is that while VeloNews understands that a deal from Ineos has been tabled it is well below the rider’s own valuation. Yates joined Ineos Grenadiers at the start of the 2021 season on a contract in excess of around 2 million Euros per-season. He was given the opportunity to lead Ineos Grenadiers at the Tour de France this summer and was hoping that podium place would strengthen his contract position.

Contracting COVID-19 at the Tour de Suisse, and then picking up a second bug during the race severely dented his negotiating position and has seen Ineos offer a deal less than half of the rider’s current salary.

Ineos has a trend for doing this. They are not Team Sky, who would sanction salaries at the drop of a hat and Yates needs only look at Thomas’s history for an example of how a high-caliber rider can be squeezed. It took months for Thomas to eventually agree a contract extension at Ineos last year and part of the deliberations came down to finances, as well as the rider’s role in the team.

Thomas would eventually re-sign on a two-year deal but well below his Tour de France winning contract from 2018. Unlike Thomas, Yates is not as emotionally attached to the British set-up as the Welshman.

Yates spent the first seven years of his career at GreenEdge and does not have the sentimentality that Thomas has towards the team he has spent most of his career with.

Likewise, Thomas’ best opportunity to leave Ineos came several years ago, when his market value was at its highest and he had genuine interest from several parties, including Trek-Segafredo. Last year, when his contract was up for renewal, Thomas had fewer options.

Yates on the other hand, does have options.

BikeExchange-Jayco may have re-signed Simon Yates and Michael Matthews for next year but they are open to bringing back Adam Yates after his two years away. The sticking point is once again over cost and budget but talks have taken place. The initial numbers Yates was looking for a few months ago are no longer applicable but a low-key Tour de France has opened up his options in the market given that more teams can now explore the option of signing him.

Jerome Pineau’s revamped B&B Hotels – KTM team is another option, along with Israel Premier Tech but BikeExchange appears to be the best fit and VeloNews understands that while talks have not progressed in recent weeks the team management did meet with Yates’s agent at the Tour de France in Paris.

There is obvious still a chance that Yates and Ineos reach a compromise the but the longer the negotiations go on, the more it looks like a move away is the most likely scenario.

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