ORICA-SCOTT have announced their surprise Grand Tour plans for 2017 with Esteban Chaves and Adam & Simon Yates headline riders for the three biggest races of the year.
Esteban Chaves will lead the team at the Tour de France in July, while the Yates brothers have been named as dual protected riders for the 100th edition of the Giro ‘d Italia in May.
All three, Chaves & both the Yates brothers, have been named as team leaders for the third and final Grand Tour of the year, la Vuelta, during August & September.
Making the announcement, Sports Director Matt White said 2017 would be a vital year in the development of the team’s trio of young climbers.
“Despite having three quality young riders to develop programs for, we have come up with a plan that the boys, and the team, are very excited about,” he said.
“They have each pleasantly surprised us with their results over the last year, but we have a long term plan and we are not getting ahead of ourselves. Our priority is still to continue their development at a speed that suits them individually.”
‘Esteban Has Earned The Right To Lead’
With Chaves making the podium of the 2016 Giro & la Vuelta, White said the Colombian climbing sensation had earned the right to lead his team at the world’s biggest race, the Tour de France.
“Esteban has proved that he is ready and he deserves this opportunity,” White said.
“I think it’s pretty unrealistic to expect anyone to win their first Tour de France but physically, Esteban has shown he can ride general classification at Grand Tours and he can handle the stress involved.”
With Adam Yates finishing 4th and awarded best young rider at the 2016 Tour de France, many expected him to be given another opportunity this year.
Instead, the Yates brothers will miss le Tour and both make their Giro d’Italia debut in a tactical plan White described as a “two-pronged attack”.
‘Maybe The Toughest Last Week Of A Grand Tour’
“It’s a very special edition of the Giro,” White said.
“(It’s) maybe the toughest last week of a Grand Tour I have ever seen. The boys are up to the challenge and it looks to be the best field ever assembled.”
“People on the outside might think it’s a bit strange that we are not sending a lad that finished fourth last year back to the Tour de France. But it’s simple, we want to give the guys a bigger foundation for the future because that’s where their biggest potential lies.
Three Leaders For La Vuelta?
The plan, at least at this early point in the season, is for all three riders to come together for the Vuelta a Espana.
“We don’t know how Esteban will come out of the Tour,” White said. “He has done two Grand Tours in a year before but not back-to-back so we need to reassess after the Tour. It will be the only Grand Tour this year that we will see them race all together and this is also an exciting prospect for us.”
What do you think? Can two and even three team leaders work? We are keen to hear your thoughts on this – have your say in the comments below.