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Yates brothers reach first Tour de France rest day unscathed

Yates brothers reach first Tour de France rest day unscathed
© Reuters
Simon and Adam are both racing at the Tour de France for Mitchelton-Scott this year.

By the first rest day of the Tour de France there were no reported cases of mistaken identity involving the Yates twins.

None of the commentator slips or erroneous graphics that have occurred before, and no decoy attacks where Simon might check how alert Adam's general classification rivals were by darting up a climb.

Simon may have grown a bit of a beard to match Adam's, but Mitchelton-Scott were still making it easy to tell the fraternal twins apart – putting Adam in red shoes with black-framed sunglasses while Simon sports white shoes and sunglasses.

β€” Mitchelton-SCOTT (@MitcheltonSCOTT) July 6, 2019

Such special steps are needed given how unusual it is to see the Bury pair in the same race.

Simon has come to France to help Adam's bid to stand on the podium in Paris, reversing the roles from September when Adam helped Simon to his breakthrough Grand Tour victory at La Vuelta.

At the mid-point of the Tour Adam is well placed after getting on the right side of the stage 10 crosswinds that ripped the general classification apart, sitting in seventh place, one minute and 47 seconds down with his favoured ground in the mountains still to come.

The brothers rode together in the road world championships in Innsbruck in September and were both on the start line at the Ruta del Sol in February, but these are very much the exceptions.

Sports director Matt White did not sign the duo back in 2013 in order to have two riders with such similar characteristics double up.

"Why have them both together when you can have one at Paris-Nice and one at Tirreno-Adriatico? One preparing for the Giro (d'Italia), one for the Tour?" White told PA.

As the 26-year-olds continue to develop as Grand Tour riders, White still plans to keep them on different programmes but now with a twist – because as the Vuelta showed last year, there is no better wingman for either twin to have than the other.

Team-mate and stage nine winner Daryl Impey said: "The great thing about them is they're both racers. They kind of spur each other on, encourage each other a little bit.

"You see them confide in each other a lot of the time, talking to each other about what's the best way to go, what to do on tomorrow's stage and so on.

"I think obviously the trust is bigger between the two of them because they're brothers."

It seems to do them both good, too. While Simon certainly appreciated Adam's help in the Vuelta and vice-versa here, the one dropping into the support role can enjoy some time out of the spotlight, without the burdens of team leadership which are usually theirs to carry.

Australian Jack Haig, who would ordinarily room with Simon when Adam is not around, said: "Simon's still the same easy going guy but he's maybe a bit more relaxed when he doesn't have the pressure of riding GC.

"Now me and him can hang a bit further back in the group and talk s***."

From the outside, neither brother is easy to get to know. They front up for interviews reluctantly and keep their answers to the point.

Behind the scenes they are, by all accounts, very different characters, at the heart of a team that has a particular reputation for its loose, jovial atmosphere off the bike.

And things go up a notch when both twins are at a race.

"They bring a nice dynamic because they're both different in their personalities but at the dinner table they both joke around a lot," Impey added.

"I think they actually come out of their shell a bit more when they're together. It kind of takes the pressure off a little bit.

"When they're together they feel more at home and more at ease rather than solely the pressure being focused on one guy."

White indicated Simon's participation in the Tour would rule out a defence of his Vuelta title given the immense difficulty of riding three Grand Tours in one season and staying at the sharp end.

But that he would be willing to make that sacrifice to help Adam with his own ambitions is telling.

"They're super-tight," White said. "There's no rivalry between them at all. They're so proud to see what the other one is doing.

"Simon appreciates what Adam did for him at the Vuelta and wants to give it back. Anyone would appreciate that, but I guess it's different when it's family."

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