'I'm number one Giro favourite,' says Yates

Bologna (Italy) (AFP) –


Britain's Simon Yates insisted Friday that he was "the number one favourite" to add the Giro d'Italia title to his 2018 Vuelta triumph and wipe out the memory of his misery in last year's edition.

"I have been thinking about this race for almost 12 months," 26-year-old Yates said on the eve of the Giro, which gets underway with a time-trial in Bologna on Saturday.

When asked to designate a favourite for the three-week race, Yates, without a hint of a smile, simply replied "me!".

Mitchelton-Scott rider Yates dominated the 2018 Giro before collapsing in the mountains two days from the finish as compatriot Chris Froome became the first British winner.

He won three stages and was in the overall lead for 13 days but eventually finished down in 21st place.

Yates had the consolation of going on to win the Vuelta, the third of the year's Grand Tours.

Ahead of Saturday's time-trial, Yates said he had been working "very hard" to improve his chances.

"I won the last time I did a time-trial," he said in reference to his success at the Paris-Nice in March.