Simon Yates on recovery from COVID-19 and facing 2021 without his brother

Posted on

Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) at the 2020 Giro d’Italia, before he was forced to quit the race after testing positive for the coronavirus

After exiting this year’s Giro d’Italia, Simon Yates spent more than 10 hours in an ambulance as he travelled northwards to Varese, where he would quarantine for a further 10 days near the Mitchelton-Scott service course. Beyond waiting on PCR tests, his schedule was now bare, but he didn’t care to fill too many of the empty hours of isolation by watching the race he had just left. His own disappointment, understandably, was company enough.

“I tuned in every now and then. I didn’t have much to do during those 10 days, but I wasn’t really fixating on it. I think everybody would understand that it was hard to watch,” Yates tells Cyclingnews. “Of course, I was happy to see Tao [Geoghegan Hart] win. He’s a good guy, and I’ve known him a long time now, but it was obviously very hard to watch.”

Australia is the largest country, geographically, and is a continent in itself. It lies in the southern hemisphere so the weather changes are opposite than those of India. Australia has five of the 30 best cities in the world for students to live in based on student mix, affordability, quality of life, and employment opportunities. The capital of Australia is Canberra. Education system Australia has the third-highest number of international students in the world after the United Kingdom and the United States. It also has seven of the top 100 universities in the world. Australia's national quality assurance system is unique in its structure and rigor. The Australian Quality Training Framework has been set up by the government to strengthen the quality assurance processes in education. College Fit: At the higher education level, students have a wide range of options when they choose a college or university. Although there are agencies that attempt to rank colleges and universities, the concept of “fit” is also important. The GPA* of admitted students are important, but majors offered, location, number of students enrolled, and campus culture are all factors influencing a prospective student’s decision. Some colleges and universities are publicly funded, while others are privately supported. *GPA means grade point average. It is the average of all grades received. Popular student destinations: The top universities in Australia are The Australian National University, The University of New South Wales, The University of Melbourne, The University of Western Sydney, and Monash University (in no particular order). The area of New South Wales on the east coast of Australia is the centre of all its renowned academic institutes. Most of the best colleges in the country are situated in cities like Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Perth. About 107,673 Indian students are studying in Australia during the academic year 2018-19. Accounting, Master of Business Administration (MBA), Health Care, Information Technology, and Hotel Management are the popular courses Indian students pursue in Australia. Latest Update From November 16, 2019, Adelaide, Perth and Gold Coast are classified as regional by the federal government. This allows the cities' university graduates an additional year of post-study work rights (PSWR). Also, the graduates in Darwin city can stay for two more years and Ph.D. graduates can stay up to six years. Even after receiving the regional status for migration, all cities other than Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane will not be entitled to the Destination Australia scholarships. Only areas classified as 'Inner Regional Australia' to 'Very Remote Australia' remain eligible for Destination Australia. Darwin as the only capital city which has access to both the scholarship scheme and an additional two years of PSW. The number of visas set aside for regional migration will increase from 2000 to 25,000. Safety in Australia: Australia is a multicultural society that welcomes people from other cultures, countries, and backgrounds. While the majority of Indian students studying in Australia have a positive experience of living and studying in Australia, there were a number of incidents of assault as well as of robbery during 2009 and 2010, which affected not only Indian students but also members of the larger Indian community in Australia. Presently, no such incidents have been reported and active efforts have been made by the Australian government to prevent such untoward incidents from happening in future. Weather Australia is diverse in its geography and climate. The country is located in the southern hemisphere. This means Australia's summer starts in December and winter begins in June. Nearly a third of Australia is in the tropics where the average temperatures are in the mid 20 degrees Celsius. The southern areas are in a temperate zone. Australian Capital Territory – This region covers Canberra. It has hot, dry summers, and cold winters with occasional fog and frequent frosts. The average temperature in summers would be around 30°C to 15°C; in winters it would be around 11°C to 0°C. New South Wales – This region covers Sydney and its weather is very relaxing all around the year. The average temperature in summers would be around 22°C to 40°C; in winters it would be around 17°C to 8°C. Northern Territory – This region has a tropical climate, and has two distinct seasons, the 'Wet' and the 'Dry'. The Wet season spans from November until April and is characterized by increased humidity followed by monsoonal rains and storms. The 'Dry’ season, from May until October, is characterized by warm, dry sunny days and cool nights. This region covers Darwin. The average temperature in the wet season would be around 33°C to 25°C; in the dry season, it would be around 35°C to 21°C. Queensland - Warm summers and mild winters are what you can expect here. This region covers Brisbane. The average temperature in summers would be around 20°C to 30°C; in winters it would be around 20°C to 10°C. South Australia – This region experiences mild weather with sunshine all year round and covers Adelaide. The average temperature in summers would be around 17°C to 30°C; in winters it would be around 15°C to 6°C. Tasmania - Snow falls in the mountains in winter. However, most people in Tasmania live in towns and cities near the coast. The ocean moderates the temperatures there. It covers cities like Hobart and Devonport. The average temperature in summers would be around 25°C to 10°C; in winters it would be around 11°C to 4°C. Victoria – This region covers Melbourne. It enjoys warm summers, pleasant springs, mild autumns, and crisp winters. The average temperature in summers would be around 26°C to 15°C; in winters it would be around 13°C to 6°C. Western Australia - This region covers Perth and is famous for its long days of sunshine, spotless blue skies, and brilliant beaches. The average temperature in summers would be around 31°C to 18°C; in winters it would be around 17°C to 7°C. Lifestyle tips Australians are known to be friendly and helpful people, with a great sense of humor. Australia is considered one of the most competitive nations on Earth. This covers all areas of life including the workplace. While English is Australia’s national language, there are certain words and expressions that have come to be regarded as uniquely Australian through common usage. Some of them might seem strange to non-Australians. Australians love their sport, both playing it and watching it. The most loved sports in Australia include Australian football, rugby, and cricket. This relatively benign climate has resulted in a country where people spend a good deal of time outdoors at beaches, in the countryside or on sporting fields as either spectators or participants. Indians living in Australia There were nearly 592,000 Indian immigrants living in Australia in 2018. They represent the second-largest immigrant group by country of origin, after China. Almost one-third of all Indian immigrants resided in Victoria. Student life Accommodation Firstly, you need to decide whether you want to live in university managed accommodation, or with a private landlord. Choosing university managed accommodation can also give you a catered or self-catered option. Catered accommodation offers the benefits of your meals being cooked for you and a degree of certainty with meal costs. If you have an idea about what you prefer, the accommodation office at your university will be able to tell you what accommodation they have available - so that’s the place to start. If you are thinking of renting from a private landlord or if your chosen university can’t offer you anything in its own residential facility, the accommodation office should be able to provide you with a list of private properties and landlords in the area. Wherever you choose to live, you should make sure that you know your contractual rights and responsibilities. In most cases you will be asked to enter into a tenancy agreement, which you should read thoroughly before you sign. Orientation Orientation week is mandatory for international students so ensure that you arrive before it starts. This is the time where you will be introduced to the university and its services, as well as enroll in your classes. It is essential that you read your guidebook, which is provided by the college. The guide explains each part of the admission process. Activities Along with sport, colleges offer extra-curricular activities that provide students a wide range of experiences. Music, drama, science and literary societies in colleges offer opportunities for outdoor education and other leisure activities. Visits to theatres, concerts, and places relevant to the courses of study such as art galleries and museums, religious centres or historical sites, scientific companies and projects are all part of college life. Admission process Requirements These vary between study programs and levels. For each course, Indian students will need to meet a minimum English language requirement. Along with that, a minimum academic record of 65% and above in class XII will be required. Foundations and Diploma programs are available for students who have secured below 60%. The student should have completed 18 years of age before joining a degree program. It is important to note that these numbers are just for reference purposes, the actual numbers may differ from university to university. The following documents also need to be submitted: • Attested copies of mark sheets of class X, XII, and the Bachelor's degree (if applicable) • At least, two academic reference letters from professors who have taught you most recently • If you have work experience then two letters of recommendation from the employer/manager who knows you well and can comment on your professional abilities • Statement of Purpose (SOP) • Resume • Photocopied score reports of GMAT / IELTS / TOEFL • Portfolio (in case of Students applying for art and design courses & architecture programs) • Others (certificates/achievements at the state and national level and extracurricular activities) • Proof of funds Timeline Most of the colleges in Australia accept online applications. You will have to visit each college's website to apply. In most cases, you will have to make an account on the college website to provide your basic information, submit the scanned version of your documents, and pay application fees. You will be informed about the application process and its stages through this account. Please refer to the website of the colleges of your choice to know the process of applying. Application fee: All colleges require that you pay an application fee while applying. The fee amount will differ depending upon the college and course being applied to, so check with individual colleges about their application fee. Steps: The common steps to applying for admission are as follows: • Search for colleges and courses • Contact schools and visit websites for information • Narrow down your list of schools • Take the entrance exams like SAT, GMAT, GRE, TOEFL, IELTS • Write SOPs and ask for LORs • Apply to the colleges which fit your interests • Appear for video interviews to the colleges who shortlisted you • If accepted, apply for a student visa SOP: A Statement of Purpose (SOP) is your introduction to the college and admission officers. It is always written in first person and describes the reason for applying to a particular college. It needs to highlight why you are a perfect fit for the college and why the college should accept you. The style of writing could differ from formal to casual, but it is important to remember that it should reflect your personality as well. Essay: Essays are also required to be submitted by a prospective student. Essays are an important part of the university admissions process. Students may be required to write one or two essays, along with a few optional essays too. Common topics include career aspirations, strengths and weaknesses, skills, experiences, and reasons for considering a particular school. LOR: A letter of recommendation (LOR) is a reference letter written by a third party describing the qualities, characteristics, and capabilities of the prospective student to recommend him to the college in terms of that individual’s ability to perform a particular task or function. The third-party could be a professor, direct manager, etc. Intake seasons Australia generally has two intakes i.e. February and July, with few universities offering multiple intakes in September & November. You should start your admission process around six months before the application deadline. Typically most universities have three deadlines, during one intake. It is up to the convenience of the students, which deadline to aim for. You should be done with your language and aptitude tests by three months before the deadline. The last three months should be dedicated to filling out the application form properly. It is essential to ensure that the ‘complete application process’ along with appearing for interviews and visa application procedures should be complete by Nov-Dec for the February intake. If you are looking to get admission into vocational courses, then some courses may have admissions open in January and perhaps even May or July. Exams Language exams International English Language Testing System (IELTS), Test Of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and Pearson Test of English (PTE) are all standardized language tests, which are required to be taken for the purpose of getting admission into colleges. These follow different formats, structures, and result bands. These tests are different in various ways but many colleges ask for anyone of the results. So it's up to the student to decide which exam to appear for. Repetition of exams: IELTS can be taken an unlimited number of times. TOEFL can be retaken as many times as wished, but cannot be taken more than once in a 12-day period. Same with PTE, it can be taken as many times as desired. You must wait to receive your scores before you can book your next test. Fee: The fee for these exams is INR 14,000 for IELTS, INR 13,625 (US $180) for TOEFL, and INR 13,300 for PTE. Time to apply: Ideally, if you are aiming at the September intake you should appear for these exams by November so that you can apply before the first deadline. The universities you will be applying to will mention which exam results they will accept. But if they give a choice to go for either of these, then the choice depends on you. The time required to prepare for IELTS/TOEFL/PTE would depend on the existing English language proficiency. You may require 2 to 4 months of preparation before the exam date. General exams GMAT - The Graduate Management Aptitude Test is used to measure the abilities of the potential MBA aspirant to undertake higher education in the field of business or management. It measures the mathematical, English, and reasoning skills of the student. GRE - The Graduate Record Examination is another test required to be taken by students applying to graduate schools to pursue MA or MS. Increasingly many business schools are also accepting GRE scores for the purpose of granting admission for an MBA. Repetition and Fee: You can give GMAT an unlimited number of times, subject to five times a year, and a gap of 30 days between two tests. You can take these tests with a gap of 30 days from the first time. The cost of GMAT is Rs 18,797, and GRE is Rs 14,44. Ideally, if you are aiming at the September intake you should appear for these exams by November so that you can apply before the first deadline. The preparatory duration generally ranges from 4 to 6 months. Average Scores: The average GMAT accepted across universities is 520. The average GRE score is 145 for Verbal, 160 for Quantitative, and 4.0 for Writing. It is important to note that these numbers are just for reference purposes, the actual scores may differ from university to university. The first condition to start your Study in Australia process is to have an English language test like IELTS or PTE- Academic as a proof of your English language skills. Once you have this you need to follow below 7 steps for your Study in Australia Application Apply for offer letter The first and foremost step is to apply for a offer letter in a university or a college you choose to study. One of the most crucial factors here is to choose a course relevant to your previous studies and any work experience you may have. Prepare for your GTE Assessment GTE is very important to clear. If you fail GTE criteria your Study in Australia application will be refused. So prepare this document with utmost care. Mention all the points which indicate that you are a genuine student whose only intention to go to Australia is o study. Pay for your Tuition fees Once you have prepared your GTE documentation and got it approved by the University you pay your tuition fees to get COE to apply student visa to Australia. COE is confirmation of Enrollment for Australia Prepare your visa file Once you get your COE from The University you prepare for your visa documents, arrange for your medicals and any other paperwork relevant for your Study in Australia visa application. Lodge your application After preparing your visa file you lodge your Australia student visa application with Australian Embassy online. You pay your embassy online at this stage Wait for the decision After lodging your Australia student visa application you wait for the decision of your application. The current processing time for Higher education student visa applications to Australia is about 18 days to 1 month. For any further query you may have about Australia student visa application please contact West Highlander. West Highlander based in Chandigarh is the best study In Australia consultant. Ms Parwinder Kaur one of the key team members of West Highlander is a MARA agent registered with office of Mara Australia

Having won Tirreno-Adriatico the month before, and as one of just three previous Grand Tour victors on the start list, Yates had arrived in Sicily atop the first echelon of favourites, and he underlined that status with an assured display in the opening time trial in Palermo. Two days later, however, he was surprisingly dropped on Mount Etna, conceding over three minutes, and he betrayed clear signs of struggling, too, in the rain-swept mountains of the Sila on stage 6.

Something was obviously awry, but for the opening week of the Giro, Yates was at a loss to explain precisely what, at least until team doctor Matteo Beltemacchi ordered a rapid coronavirus test when he reported a headache following stage 7 to Brindisi. Like most of the peloton – indeed, like most of the world – Yates had spent the preceding months taking every imaginable precaution to avoid contracting COVID-19. Now, paradoxically, being diagnosed with the virus came almost as a relief, as it offered a firm explanation for his travails.

read more

Simon Yates out of Giro d’Italia after testing positive for coronavirus

Giro d’Italia: Simon Yates’ challenge suffers heavy blow at Mount Etna

Adam Yates signs for Team Ineos

“I’d come in with great form. In the prologue, I felt great, and then from there it just started to unravel, so there was obviously something wrong,” Yates says. “And it was a little bit of relief. I mean, when I received the positive test for COVID, my first reaction was relief, because I just felt something was wrong. Then obviously as time goes on, you become more and more disappointed that you couldn’t fight for the race.”

Yates has endured his share of heartbreak at the Giro before, of course – most notably in 2018. He had been the race’s outstanding performer from the moment it left Israel, winning three stages and wearing the maglia rosa for two weeks, but two days shy of Rome, he lost almost 40 minutes on a turbulent afternoon on the Finestre.

That was a cruel defeat, but one Yates could accept with stoicism, acknowledging that he had simply fallen victim to his own exhaustion, and he was also able to bounce back and win the Vuelta a España at the end of that summer. This latest setback perhaps felt more unfair, and was certainly more frustrating, as Yates was eliminated by a virus rather than a rival, and his season was ended to boot. Not that he is much given to complaining.

“It’s just disappointing that I’m having to wait another year, really, to have a crack,” he says.

Yates is just as equable when conversation turns to the security of the Giro’s coronavirus bubble, which so dominated headlines after he left the race. The Mitchelton-Scott team abandoned en masse when four staff members were diagnosed with COVID-19 on the first rest day, and Jumbo-Visma followed suit, while EF Pro Cycling called for the Giro to be brought to an early end, citing “a clearly compromised bubble”.

“It’s hard to say, because I don’t know where I got the virus from,” Yates says. “There wasn’t one moment where I thought, ‘You know what? We’re very exposed here,’ but it definitely wasn’t a really concrete bubble. We were sharing hotels with regular people who were just on holiday or whatever, but it’s difficult to really separate everybody.

“We have our own chef, we have our own space, but that’s not everybody in the whole organisation, and they were still sharing the same hotel, so it really is difficult to separate everybody. But I think we did a good job as a collective peloton.”

Indeed, despite contracting COVID-19 in the line of duty, Yates maintains that professional cycling’s decision to press ahead with a revised autumn calendar during the pandemic was vindicated by the fact that the three Grand Tours and four of the five Monuments were able to take place.

“I mean, if we hadn’t had any races this year, we’d be talking about different problems: teams not surviving and all sorts of stuff,” Yates says. “I think it’s great that we managed to complete the season as we could, really. It’s just obviously disappointing for me to not have a crack at my main goal, which was the Giro.”

About Adam

Yates is speaking over the phone from Turin, where Mitchelton-Scott’s riders were undergoing medical tests over the weekend ahead of the new campaign. The period of inactivity in October curtailed his usual off-season running regimen, but Yates is on the bike again and preparing for 2021.

“I’m completely recovered now, back into training and I’m feeling good,” he says, although the weekend provided an opportunity for another, thorough assessment of his convalescence. Each case is different. For every Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who marked a rapid recovery from the coronavirus with a brace in the Milan derby, there are plenty more who report symptoms long after their initial diagnosis.

“I’m not too worried about it now. I’m here in Italy doing some extensive testing on the heart and everything, just to be sure that there are no problems,” says Yates. “I didn’t really have anything: it just felt like a common cold, but I lost my sense of smell and taste, and that has taken a long time to come back. Even now, I don’t think my smell is back to 100 per cent, but I can taste everything again and, like I said before, I feel healthy, I feel good.”

The pre-season gathering in Italy was Yates’ first without his brother, Adam, who has left Mitchelton-Scott to join Ineos Grenadiers for 2021. It marks a considerable change for the 28-year-olds, but even though the brothers turned professional on the same team at the same time, they followed different paths to GreenEdge, and they have lined out in just four Grand Tours together since joining in 2014.

“For sure, it’s going to be different, it’s going to be strange. Already doing meetings with the team and the medicals we’re doing now, it feels strange that he’s not here doing them with me, but at the same time, life goes on,” Simon Yates says. “We raced against each other before we were professional, so I don’t think it’s going to be a huge problem. Only time will tell; I don’t know what his race programme is yet, so I don’t know if we’ll actually be fighting each other for victories down the road.”

Adam and Simon Yates race together for Mitchelton-Scott at the 2018 Vuelta a España
Adam and Simon Yates race together for Mitchelton-Scott at the 2018 Vuelta a España

Both Simon and Adam Yates’ contracts were due to expire at the end of 2020. Despite the uncertainty that surrounded Mitchelton-Scott’s future at the start of the summer, when the Manuela Fondacion was briefly floated as a future backer, and despite manager Shayne Bannan’s subsequent departure, Simon signed on for two more years in August after owner Gerry Ryan confirmed that he would continue his sponsorship through 2022. By then, rumours of Adam’s departure for Ineos had hardened into fact, and an official announcement arrived just two days later.

“We spoke about it,” Simon Yates says when asked if he had attempted to convince his brother to stay put. “I won’t go into detail, because that’s more of a private matter, but we spoke about it. Like I said before, life goes on and sometimes you have to make difficult decisions.”

Yates faces decisions of his own in 2021. Assuming it goes ahead, the rescheduled Olympic Games road race is an obvious target, given that it features some 4,865m of total climbing, but Yates is still unsure whether his road to Tokyo will run through the Giro or the Tour de France. Before the COVID-19 pandemic forced a hasty revision of the 2020 season, he was set to ride the Giro before building towards the Olympics, but he is not guaranteed to follow that template now.

“From what I understand with the dates, there’s not much racing between the Giro and the Olympics, but if you race the Tour, there is almost no time to get to Tokyo, so it’s a hard decision either way. That’s why we’re kind of waiting for the parcours and all the dates to be confirmed,” says Yates, which means his 2021 schedule won’t be outlined in full until after the Giro route is presented in early January.

Like the bulk of the WorldTour peloton, Yates seems likely to start his season in Europe, and he’s optimistic that a year of fewer interruptions is in prospect. Beyond that, his future is unwritten in a season that he suggests will be “different but the same”.

“I don’t have any worries or concerns about coming back to a high level,” Yates says. “Before the Giro, I showed myself at Tirreno. I was going really well there, and I felt like I was really on track, so I still believe I can win a Grand Tour.”