Tour de France: Britain's Simon Yates handed unexpected berth

Simon Yates
Simon Yates' team say he is "fresh and ready to race”

Great Britain's Simon Yates has earned an unexpected place in Orica GreenEdge's nine-man Tour de France squad.

The inclusion of the first-year professional from Bury means four British riders will be in the field for Saturday's Grand Depart in Leeds.

Orica Green Edge sports director Matt White admitted it "wasn't the plan" to include the 21-year-old in the team.

"But for what we want to achieve as a team, he's a great fit," White added.

The other Britons in the field for this year's race are champion Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas, who will ride for Team Sky, and Mark Cavendish of Omega Pharma - Quick-Step.

But there are a number of high-profile omissions among British riders, with 2012 champion Sir Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky), David Millar (Garmin-Sharp) and Alex Dowsett (Movistar) all missing out.

Yates, the 2013 points race world champion on the track, was selected in the Orica GreenEdge line-up ahead of his twin brother, Adam, whose non-selection was, in part, due to having already taken part in more races than his sibling this season.

Adam Yates finished sixth in last month's Criterium du Dauphine - ahead of Froome - and won the Tour of Turkey, when Simon suffered a fractured collarbone.

"Simon's inclusion begs the question of Adam's exclusion," White added. "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 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 has certainly achieved a lot more than we would have imagined up to this point."

Orica-Green Edge Tour de France squad
Jens Keukeleire (Bel), Luke Durbridge (Aus), Mathew Hayman (Aus), Michael Albasini (Swi), Michael Matthews (Aus), Simon Clarke (Aus), Simon Gerrans (Aus), Simon Yates (GB), Svein Tuft (Can).