Bradley Wiggins and Orla Chennaoui discussed on the latest episode of the Breakaway why there’s such little celebration of Mitchelton-Scott’s Adam Yates taking the yellow jersey at the Tour de France.
"There’s a lack of fanfare about the achievement Adam’s done in taking the yellow jersey, and I couldn’t work out if we’d just become accustomed to British riders having success at the Tour de France now,” Wiggins said. “It was a rarity for somebody to do well at the Tour de France and take the yellow jersey, but we almost forgot about Adam yesterday.”
Wiggins asked the same question to his fellow pundit, who offered some interesting explanations as to why journalists may not have picked it up so much.
"As journalists we’re always trying to find a point of difference,” Chennaoui said. “That might be a historical first, or when it was the massive fanfare we had with you (Wiggins) it was the first British rider to ever win the Tour de France.
With Adam, we’ve had that success for a couple of years now, but it’s also a personality thing. You gave us plenty of controversy and headlines, same with Mark Cavendish. With Yates, he’s just so humble, he’s not the kind of rider who’s going to be too sparky in interviews.
"He is British cycling as well, but he plied his trade in France rather than the British cycling academy, so there are many reasons why he hasn’t had the fanfare. But the longer he stays in yellow the more people will realise how much potential he still has.”
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Yates will leave Mitchelton-Scott at the end of the current season to join Ineos, and Wiggins believes that director Dave Brailsford will be delighted to have secured the Englishman’s services.
“I think Dave Brailsford will be looking at him and thinking that he’s already proven himself capable to win a Tour de France.
He’s an amazing rider, lots of the guys that grew up with him and Simon and Adam in the academy will actually say Adam is the better rider of the two, which is quite something when you consider Simon’s palmārēs. He’s a phenomenal talent, and we keep saying he’s a talent, but he’s actually already achieving.
"This is his time now, he’s at that age, they are such down to earth lads, so measured, so level-headed and I think he’s the model athlete for Dave Brailsford in that set-up and I see them moulding him in to winning, maybe not the Tour de France, but the Giro and Vuelta for sure, imagine him going up against his brother!”
But how will Ineos use Yates? Chennaoui believes much of that depends on how the remainder of his race goes.
“They have been stacking themselves full of Grand Tour winners, and we saw the difficulty that Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas had this year even making it on the team,” she said.
“Whether he will be allowed to lead an Ineos team very much depends on how the rest of this race goes. When he signed it may have been that Ineos were thinking of him as a super-domestique, they love to build a huge team like that.”