Simon Yates is to ride the Tour de France this summer after missing last year’s race through an anti-doping ban, his Orica-Scott team has confirmed.
The 24-year-old from Bury was originally due to ride the Giro d’Italia next month with his twin brother Adam.
But concerns over the fitness of Colombian climber Esteban Chaves, who has been struggling with a knee injury, have led the Australian WorldTour team to change the British rider’s programme.
He will also ride the final Monument of the Spring campaign, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, on Sunday.
Sports director Matt White said: “We are confident that Esteban has made a full recovery from his knee injury and is now back into his Tour de France preparation.
“What we don’t know at the moment is how that time off and lack of racing will affect his performance over the three weeks.
“The Tour de France is the biggest race of the year and we have been able to come up with a plan that will benefit our young GC riders, and the team ambitions for the season.
“Simon will be given the opportunity to line up in his third Tour de France and the pressure on Esteban will be eased a bit as he prepares for his debut. Adam will continue in his preparations for the Giro in a few weeks’ time,” he continued.
Last year, Adam Yates finished fourth overall at the Tour de France and claimed the best young rider’s jersey, the first British rider to win it.
His brother will target that classification in the Tour de France, while he will be aiming to win the best young rider’s contest at the Giro, White said.
“The new programme will give [both] Simon and Adam opportunities to look at white jerseys this year – Adam at the Giro and Simon at the Tour de France.
“That is something we will certainly be aiming for as we ride for the best general classification results possible for our young climbers.”
Simon Yates missed last year’s Tour de France after he tested positive for the anti-asthma drug terbutaline at Paris-Nice last year.
His team said that its doctor had failed to secure the necessary Therapeutic Use Exemption and in June, the UCI confirmed he had been banned for four months for “non intentional doping.”
The suspension was backdated to 12 March, forcing him to miss the Tour de France, but he returned in time for the Vuelta a Espana where he finished sixth overall and also claimed his maiden Grand Tour stage win.
Chaves and both of the Yates brothers could all ride in the three-week Spanish race this year, although Orica-Scott said no decision would be taken until after the Tour de France.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.