Will Simon Yates hang on at the top of la Vuelta?

The Briton moved into the red jersey after stage nine of the 2018 race to Madrid.

Simon Yates is back in front at a Grand Tour.

After leading this year's Giro d'Italia for 13 stages, the 26-year-old has moved into the race lead of the Vuelta a España.

And he looks set to be a major contender in top-level racing for years to come.

So now is a good time to find out a bit more about the rider from the north of England and his equally-talented sibling Adam.

The name's Yates

Simon and Adam Yates were born in Bury, Greater Manchester, on 7 August 1992, five minutes apart.

While not identical twins, they do look very similar.

Dad John took the pair to the Manchester Velodrome when they were eight to watch his Bury Clarion teammates train as he recovered from a road accident.

They were soon hooked, riding on the track and the road.

Wins throughout the junior ranks followed with the brothers becoming part of the national programme.

At 18, Simon was selected for the Olympic Academy but not Adam.

Simon went to the 2010 Commonwealth Games where he shared a room with one Chris Froome.

Meanwhile, Adam went down the more traditional route of learning his craft on the French amateur circuit.

In 2013, Simon claimed a shock gold medal in the points race at the World Championships.

Simon Yates of Great Britain celebrates winning the Men's Points Race on day three of the 2013 UCI Track World Championships at the Minsk Arena on 22 February 2013 in Minsk, Belarus. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
Simon Yates of Great Britain celebrates winning the Men's Points Race on day three of the 2013 UCI Track World Championships at the Minsk Arena on 22 February 2013 in Minsk, Belarus. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)Simon Yates of Great Britain celebrates winning the Men's Points Race on day three of the 2013 UCI Track World Championships at the Minsk Arena on 22 February 2013 in Minsk, Belarus. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

The Yates twins were expected to make the switch from GB Cycling to Team Sky in 2014.

Instead, represented by two different agents, they signed for Australian outfit Orica-GreenEDGE, now called Mitchelton-SCOTT.

In March 2016, Simon finished strongly in the Paris–Nice to end up in seventh place.

But his world collapsed as details emerged of a positive test for asthma treatment terbutaline in the race.

Orica-GreenEDGE had failed to apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption, which would have allowed Yates to use his inhaler within specified limits.

The team took full responsibility, and the Englishman accepted a four-month suspension for 'non-intentional' doping.

The road back

Inspired by Adam's storming fourth at the Tour de France, Simon made his return at that year's Vuelta.

He scored his first Grand Tour stage win with a solo ride on stage six.

He went on to finish sixth overall in the general classification and started 2017 well with stage wins at the Paris–Nice and the Tour de Romandie.

And later that year he followed his brother into the Tour's white jersey for best young rider.

Simon Yates in the best young rider jersey sprints to the finish during the individual time trial stage 20 of the 2017 Tour de France, a 22.5km stage on 22 July 2017 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Simon Yates in the best young rider jersey sprints to the finish during the individual time trial stage 20 of the 2017 Tour de France, a 22.5km stage on 22 July 2017 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)Simon Yates in the best young rider jersey sprints to the finish during the individual time trial stage 20 of the 2017 Tour de France, a 22.5km stage on 22 July 2017 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

While both twins are known for being pretty laid-back characters, they are steely competitors.

Simon worked hard on his time-trialling to strengthen his claims in the big stage races.

"I do consider myself a Grand Tour GC rider after the (2016) Vuelta," he told the Guardian in June 2017.

"There's a lot of improvements I can make in various aspects of cycling – for example my time-trialling – to become an all-round rider."

First taste of leader's pressure

Simon Yates finally staked his claim as a GC threat at this year's Giro.

He blazed up Mount Etna on stage six to ride himself into the leader's pink jersey, finishing the stage second just behind teammate Esteban Chaves.

Younger brother Adam wasn't with him — he was racing the Tour of California half the world away — but Simon showed he was no pushover in holding on to the maglia rosa.

He finally cracked on stage 19 after nearly two weeks in pink, losing almost 39 minutes on a mountainous stage that included the infamous Colle delle Finestre.

It was his first chance of winning a Grand Tour, and his first taste of the pressure that comes with defending an overall lead.

Yates still isn't sure what happened.

"It's difficult to say what I learned from the Giro d'Italia because I still don't know why I cracked."

Now he finds himself at the front of a Grand Tour once more.

"Being in the leader's jersey is becoming a little bit familiar," he said after taking the Vuelta lead.

"I will have to sit down with the team and discuss how we approach being in the jersey over the next few days."

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