UK cycling twins boost Australian team

The twins who slipped through the net of British cycling are the new guard for Australian team Orica-GreenEDGE at the Tour de France.

Adam and Simon Yates mark the next phase of Orica-GreenEDGE’s ultimate goal to win the three-week classic.

The 22-year-old riders from Bury, near Manchester, are strong climbers and the goal is for them to win at least one mountain stage.

It will the be first time since Orica-GreenEDGE debuted at the 2012 Tour that they have had riders at the race who can potentially mix it with the pure climbers in the Alps and Pyrenees.

Until now, Orica-GreenEDGE have focussed on big results in the first week of the Tour, when the terrain is flatter.

Adam will make his Tour debut when the race starts this Saturday in Utrecht, The Netherlands, while Simon did so last year as a late call-up.

Their signings in late 2013 represented a significant coup for the Australian team.

British cycling has become a monolith in the last decade, dominating the Beijing and London Olympics.

The Sky team has also excelled at the Tour de France, with Bradley Wiggins winning in 2012 and Chris Froome also securing overall honours the following year.

But Orica-GreenEDGE signed the Yates brothers on three-year deals, denying Sky two undeniable young talents.

Eventually, Orica-GreenEDGE hope they and Colombian Estaban Chavez, who rode in the May Giro d’Italia, will become Grand Tour contenders.

But for now, the goals will be more modest.

“It would be pretty irresponsible for us to put pressure on 22-year-olds, as second year pros, to ride general classification at the Tour de France,” said team manager Matt White.

“The plan is to gain more experience at the highest level in our sport.

“What they have proven this year is that they have the ability to be very competitive on a lot of varied terrains and against the best riders in the world.

“We are aiming to win a stage with them.

“If they can hunt out the right move, then on any given day they certainly have the ability to win.”

The nine-man team will only feature three Australians – Simon Gerrans, Michael Matthews and Luke Durbridge.

Injuries from crashes have cruelled Gerrans’ season so far, but White said his star rider had enjoyed a strong buildup to the Tour.

Matthews will make his Tour debut, a year after he crashed in training just before the race and had to pull out.

Gerrans and Matthews will aim for stage wins, while Durbridge will be a domestique.

Dutch rider Pieter Weening, South African Daryl Impey, Canadian Svein Tuft and Swiss Michael Albasini round out an experienced Tour team.

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