Yates to climb historic heights in Victorian Alps
SIMON Yates has vowed to put on "a bit of a show" in the Victorian Alps as the British star sets his sights on the Herald Sun Tour.
Yates is the main attraction at the 67th edition of Australia's oldest stage race and Mitchelton-Scott's Grand Tour winner is ready to play showman.
His performing stage will be a course that includes Falls Creek and Mount Buller for the first time in Herald Sun Tour history in a gruelling prospect for the peloton.
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"I'm really looking forward to it because all the climbs we've done so far have been really short," Yates said.
"The Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race was a two-minute climb and then the longest climb I've done racing-wise was Willunga Hill (at Tour Down Under) and we went up there in six minutes.
"So I'm looking forward to stretching the legs on a longer climb."
Yates' version of "stretching the legs" is enough to break the legs of many, with the 2018 Vuelta a Espana champion the clear favourite on his first trip Down Under since 2014.
His main competition on the slog up Falls Creek and Mount Buller is expected to come from Team Sunweb trio Michael Storer, Jai Hindley and Rob Power and EF Education First's Lachlan Morton.
"I'll do the best I can and yeah, I know the area well enough," Yates said of the state's north east.
"I did a training camp there when I joined the team in camp in 2014 and we stayed in Bright for a couple of nights. So I've done a bit, but it's obviously been a while since then."
The Herald Sun Tour is the final race of Yates' summer stint, which included Tour Down Under and the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.
But neither he nor his Mitchelton-Scott teammates snared a win in those races, so he won't lack motivation on the roads of country Victoria.
"I've been enjoying myself, really. I've been enjoying getting stuck into racing with the boys and that's why I came out here," he said.
"It's going OK so far. It could have been better, of course, if we managed to win also."
The men's race starts on Wednesday with a sprinter-friendly 121.9km Stage 1 journey from Mitchelton to Shepparton.