“I didn’t really understand the magnitude of who Sean Yates was" - Growing up in the shadow of a former Tour de France stage winner

Before British cyclists competing for the win in the biggest races became something of the norm, Sean Yates was a leading light, winning stages at both the Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana during the 80s and 90s.

For Yates' sons, Jesse and Liam, attempting to find their own way in the sport of cycling was always an aim after seeing their father's success. “I didn’t really understand the magnitude of who Sean Yates was until I matured,” said Jesse Yates, Sean’s 27-year-old son, in conversation with Rouleur. “We just knew he rode a bike and he was a pro. It was when we got into the cycling world, we kind of realised the level he was riding.”

Living in the shadow of just the third Brit to ever wear the Maillot Jaune however, brought challenges of its own for the pair. “About a year into my cycling, I stepped outside the back door of the house and my dad said to me, ‘Do you want me to make you the next Tour de France winner?’ I said yes, and obviously it has not worked out like that, but I still do as I am told and race both on the road and gravel," Jesse said.

“If someone needed a job done, like riding on the front for five hours in the rain, he’d do it. That mentality is also what he is like in life and I think that has rubbed off on us, like you’ve just got to get on with it, and that has really helped with events like Badlands that I’ve done over the last few years,” Liam concludes. “Even if you scratch in an ultra-distance race, you’ve still got to find your own way out of the situation, so having that mentality really helps there, too.”

With both the brothers still active, could the duo ever ride together? “I think it would be crazy and if I was to do it as a pair, I would want to do it with him,” answers Jesse. “It would be cool. added Liam. "You’d have to up your training a bit though if you want to keep up with me.”

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