Caleb Ewan will lead Lotto-Soudal at the 2019 Giro d’Italia, in his first Grand Tour for the Belgian team.
The Australian will return to Italy after not competing in last year’s race, but having taken the win on stage seven in 2017. His only other Grand Tour stage win came at the Vuelta a España on stage five in 2015.
Ewan will be joined by new Hour Record holder Victor Campenaerts, who will be targeting the two time trial stages and attempting to take the maglia rosa in the stage one prologue, as well as Thomas de Gendt, who will ride all three Grand Tours this year.
Jasper de Buyst will also take the start in Bologna, after recovering from a nasty crash in the opening stage of Paris-Nice, and provide Ewan with a lead-out man, with two further Belgians Jelle Vanendert and Tosh Van der Sande as well as Adam Hansen and Roger Kluge filling out the squad.
The 24-year-old signed a two-year contract, taking him through to the end of the 2020 season, after leaving Mitchelton-Scott who he had raced for since turning pro in 2014.
Ewan had struggled for results in 2018, taking just two wins and an impressive second place at Milan-San Remo. He found no opportunities to take part in Grand Tours in his last season with Mitchelton-Scott, the Australian team focusing on general classification due to their roster including Simon Yates, Adam Yates and Esteban Chaves.
He was expected to make his Tour de France debut last year, but the team decided to go all in behind Adam Yates’ GC challenge, with the Brit eventually finishing 29th overall, over an hour down on winner Geraint Thomas.
At the time of the move, Ewan said he had “nothing but appreciation and respect” for everyone at the team, but added “I do feel the path Mitchelton-Scott are now on is one not suited to me”.
Of the other sprinters who will challenge Ewan for stage wins, his main competition will come from Elia Viviani (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) and Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ).