British neo pro Adam Yates will make his Grand Tour debut at the Vuelta a Espana after Orica-GreenEDGE confirmed his place in their nine-man squad for the race, which rolls out on Saturday August 23.
Yates’ appearance follows twin brother Simon’s Tour de France start as the recently-turned 22-year-old’s incredible debut season continues to check off new landmarks.
The Bury-born Tour of Turkey champion, who has also finished fifth at the Tour of California and sixth at the Criterium du Dauphine this season, has recovered from a crash at the Clásica San Sebastián to take his place on the start line.
Yates is one of four Brits – alongside Team Sky trio Chris Froome, Peter Kennaugh and Luke Rowe – already confirmed for the Vuelta.
And though it is yet to be decided whether he will finish the race, Yates will be given the opportunity to fight for stage wins and Orica-GreenEDGE directeur sportif is pleased with the young rider’s form and fitness heading into the race.
“We have the fire power of Adam Yates who perhaps might not do the whole Tour of Spain but certainly he is in great shape,” he said.
“He had a little bit of a set back at the Clásica San Sebastián, he knocked himself around a fair bit, but we are hoping Adam is going to be able to target certain stages.”
Michael Matthews, who won two stages at the 2013 Vuelta before picking up another Grand Tour victory at this year’s Giro d’Italia alongside wearing the pink jersey for six days, will also be among the Orica-GreenEDGE riders looking to succeed at the race.
Esteban Chaves, meanwhile, will lead the team’s bid for a strong GC placing having won stages at the Tour de Suisse and Tour of California in his debut season with the team.
The 24-year-old Colombian, a former Tour de l’Avenir winner, will ride his first Grand Tour with support from Cameron Meyer and Ivan Santaromita, while Simon Clarke, who claimed the King of the Mountains prize in 2012, also races, with Brett Lancaster, Mitch Docker and Sam Bewley completing the line-up.
Stephens added: “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.
“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’ll 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.”
Orica-GreenEDGE squad for the 2014 Vuelta a Espana
Esteban Chaves (COL)
Adam Yates (GBR)
Michael Matthews (AUS)
Mitch Docker (AUS)
Brett Lancaster (AUS)
Cameron Meyer (AUS)
Ivan Santaromita (ITA)
Simon Clarke (AUS)
Sam Bewley (AUS)