Adam Yates will make his Grand Tour debut at the Vuelta a Espana this month after being called up to Orica-GreenEdge’s nine-man squad.
The 22-year-old Briton’s selection is reward for an impressive debut season as a professional, in which he claimed overall victory at the Tour of Turkey in the spring and finished an impressive sixth overall at the Criterium du Dauphine in June.
Given his age, Orica-GreenEdge do not expect Yates to finish the 21-day race and will likely withdraw him in the second week, as they did with his twin brother Simon at this summer’s Tour de France.
The team hope Yates will join breakaways and even challenge for wins on mountainous stages, while also supporting the general classification ambitions of Colombian climber Johan Esteban Chaves.
Much will depend on Yates's form following a crash at the Clasica San Sebastian earlier this month, when he was knocked unconscious in a high-speed fall as he battled for victory in the closing kilometres.
Orica-GreenEdge sports director Neil Stephens said: “We have the firepower of Adam Yates, who perhaps might not do the whole Tour of Spain, but certainly he is in great shape.
“He had a little bit of a setback at the Clasica San Sebastian. He knocked himself around a fair bit, but we are hoping Adam is going to be able to target certain stages.”
Orica-GreenEdge have traditionally been a team geared towards wins on flat and rolling stages at Grand Tours, but will look to mountain a challenge for overall honours at the Vuelta thanks the impressive form shown this year by Chaves.
The 24-year-old won summit finishes at both the Tour of California and Tour de Suisee in impressive style during the summer, and the Australian team are consequently hopeful he can trouble race favourites such as Chris Froome, Nairo Quintana and Joaquim Rodriguez.
“It’s a bit of a test, a bit of a step up for the future of Esteban, and our team as such, to go into a major tour with thoughts of general classification,” Stephens added.
“It is a big ask to say let's go off to the Tour of Spain and try to race in the general classification. But by the same token, we will get to the end of the second week and we will reassess.
“If it is working, great, but if it’s not the year to be able to do that properly then we will just try to refocus on winning a stage win in the mountains in the last week.”
The Vuelta a Espana takes place from August 23 to September 14.
Orica-GreenEdge team for Vuelta a Espana: Adam Yates (GB), Brett Lancaster (Aus), Cameron Meyer (Aus), Johan Esteban Chaves (Col), Ivan Santaromita (Ita), Michael Matthews (Aus), Mitchell Docker (Aus), Sam Bewley (NZ), Simon Clarke (Aus).