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Yates set for Tour de France debut
Updated 11:46am Wednesday 2nd July 2014 in Sport
SIMON Yates has been named in Orica-GreenEDGE's Tour de France squad, the Australian team has announced.
The 21-year-old first-year professional from Bury is an unexpected selection, boosting British ranks for Saturday's start in Leeds, after the high-profile omissions of Sir Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky, pictured), David Millar (Garmin-Sharp) and Alex Dowsett (Movistar).
Yates, the 2013 points race world champion on the track, was selected ahead of his twin brother, Adam, whose non-selection was, in part, due to having already taken part in more races this season than his sibling.
Adam Yates finished sixth in last month's Criterium du Dauphine - ahead of defending Tour champion Chris Froome - and won the Tour of Turkey, when Simon suffered a fractured collarbone, something which he may now see as a blessing.
Orica-GreenEDGE sports director Matt White said: "Simon has certainly achieved a lot more than we would have imagined up to this point.
"It wasn't the plan to bring him into the roster for the Tour de France, but for what we want to achieve as a team, he's a great fit.
"It is no secret that we are targeting the intermediate mountain stages, and Simon has shown in his results throughout the year that he is more than capable of great results.
"Simon's inclusion begs the question of Adam's exclusion. Simon's broken collarbone in the Tour of Turkey has been a blessing in disguise.
"One of the reasons Adam is not going is because he has been racing and on very good condition since January.
"It wouldn't be a wise decision for us to send Adam. With Simon's forced break due to injury, he's fresh and ready to race."
Simon Yates is one of five riders in the nine-man squad making their Tour debuts.
Four others rode for the team last year, including Simon Gerrans, who wore the yellow jersey early in the 100th Tour.
Gerrans and Simon Yates are joined by Jens Keukeleire, Luke Durbridge, Mathew Hayman, Michael Albasini, Simon Clarke, Svein Tuft and Michael Matthews, who led for part of May's Giro d'Italia in the squad.