I F AT FIRST YOU DON'T SUC­CEED...

Procycling - - REVIEW OF THE YEAR 2018 -

The ex­pe­ri­ence of the Giro d’Italia, where Si­mon Yates looked in­cred­i­ble for two and a half weeks, and then aw­ful for two days, might have had last­ing psy­cho­log­i­cal re­pur­cus­sions for many riders. The Brit had wilted un­der Sky’s on­slaught on the penul­ti­mate moun­tain stage of the first grand tour of the year, get­ting dropped be­fore the real ac­tion - Froome rid­ing away with his pink jer­sey - had even hap­pened. Ob­servers opined that this would for­ever be Yates’s prob­lem in a grand tour - he was un­able to last three weeks. That the­ory it­self lasted all of three weeks at the Vuelta a Es­paña. Yates reined in the at­tack­ing in­stincts that had gained him the pink jer­sey in Italy but had tired him out for the fi­nal week­end. Apart from one early at­tack, he and his Mitchel­ton team kept things steady. Yates still led for long por­tions of the race, but he was keep­ing his pow­der dry. The crunch came on stage 19, as it had in the Giro. But this time in­stead of go­ing back­wards, Yates fi­nally let rip, putting his ri­vals and also any talk that he couldn’t last the length of a grand tour well be­hind him. The ad­van­tage he built on the Coll de la Rabassa was both enough to win him the race and also psy­cho­log­i­cally kill his ri­vals. At the Giro, Yates was eas­ily the strong­est rider early in the race, but he used his en­ergy too prof­li­gately, though it was fun to watch. By the Vuelta, he’d learned to ride more with his head. That com­bi­na­tion of brains and brawn has now won him a grand tour.

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