TAC­TICS 101 # 8 Squad ro­ta­tion is the hot strat­egy in grand tours

Procycling - - DEBRIEF -

Many cy­cling pun­dits point out the dif­fi­culty in iden­ti­fy­ing which Yates twin is which in a bike race. How­ever, in the first two and a half weeks of the Vuelta, it was easy - Si­mon was the one rid­ing at the front, Adam was at the back. It was only when Adam came to the fore in the fi­nal two big moun­tain stages that we saw them both to­gether at the front of the race (and Si­mon’s red jersey made it easy again to dis­tin­guish). By ‘rest­ing’ Adam be­fore the crunch stages, Mitchel­ton-Scott were ex­e­cut­ing a clever strat­egy. The risk was that Si­mon would be left with­out sup­port early in the race, but the Vuelta was heav­ily back­loaded, and Si­mon proved he was more than ca­pa­ble of look­ing af­ter him­self in the cagey early skir­mishes. Then, when he re­ally needed sup­port, for his race-win­ning ef­forts on stages 19 and 20, he had all the help he needed from a com­par­a­tively fresh Adam. With grand tour ros­ters down to eight, and teams like Mitchel­ton un­able to send full-strength teams to all three, they used their re­sources wisely. And they’re not the first team to use do­mes­tiques se­lec­tively. Sky also give climb­ing do­mes­tiques days off (though some, like Egan Bernal, don’t need them). This may be a risk, but if the rest of the team can sup­port their leader on those, it gives them more op­tions later. In Mitchel­ton’s case, it’s won them a grand tour.

Adam Yates comes to the front to lead his brother Si­mon up the climbs dur­ing the Vuelta's inal week

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