Yates backtracks after Nibali responds firmly to his Giro comments

Posted on: May 13th, 2019
Simon Yates may have backtracked but it was good to hear him in such bullish and confident form on the eve of the Giro. The British rider and Roglic have to be the favourites, but never rule out the old master Nibali; the Giro, Tour and Vuelta winner

Simon Yates has said he intended no disrespect to any of his Giro rivals in his comments on the eve of the race.

He clarified his remarks after Vincenzo Nibali said the riders vying for victory on the race should have respect for each other.

At times Yates is regarded as conservative in his approach to the media; often appearing uncomfortable when being interviewed.

However, he has gone into this Giro as Vuelta champion and one of the favourites for the overall title in Italy.

And when he met the media just before the race began, he uncharacteristically threw caution to the wind in his replies to questions.

Asked who was the top favourite for the title this year he replied: “Me”.

He added that if he was in any of his rivals shoes “I would be scared, I’d be shitting myself.”

However, Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) wasn’t all that impressed when he was asked about the Briton’s remarks.

“I’m interested in seeing how Yates performs because he said we all need to ‘go to the toilet’,” he said.

“I don’t know if that’s what he exactly what he said, things get blown up at the Giro.

“We’ve all got to show some respect for everyone who is fighting for victory in the Giro.”

It’s early days yet but Roglic is already looking like the man to beat on Giro 2019. He leads the race, has been in great form already on the Giro and through the season. Crucially, has a very strong team. If it boils down to him and Yates it should be an exciting battle given the aggression with which the British rider races.

After the opening 8km TT, where Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) finished 2nd to Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma), Yates was more conciliatory.

“I respect all my rivals greatly, I didn’t mean to disrespect anybody if that’s how they’ve taken it,” Yates said.

“Maybe I should be the one shitting myself then, from Roglič, he’s done a great ride today.”

However, he added his initial remarks were made in an interview before a race that he had been thinking of and working towards for a long time.

He said he felt mixing a bit of “pepper” into interviews with the media was no harm on such occasions.