The seven Lotto-Soudal riders that will support Caleb Ewan in his first Tour de France have been decided, according to reports.
Belgian WorldTour outfit Lotto are investing everything in stage success with Australian sprinter Ewan and their other versatile support riders capable of taking victories.
According to cycling website Weilerflits (opens in new tab), Ewan has unsurprisingly been confirmed as leader with Belgian Jasper De Buyst and German Roger Kluge taking up their roles as his key lead-out lieutenants.
Ewan ranks amongst the best sprinters in the 2019 season, with two stage victories at the Giro d’Italia and six wins this year.
The diminutive 24-year-old pulled out of the Giro after stage 11, the second of his stage glories, in order to focus on his ambition of victory at his debut Tour de France.
Lotto-Soudal also have potential for success on tougher parcours, as Belgians Tiesj Benoot and Tim Wellens are likely to be in the squad.
Benoot will be riding high after a fourth-place finish at the Tour de Suisse, while he is in the process of negotiating a new contract for 2020 as Lotto are unable to afford the inflating price of the strong 25-year-old.
Wellens has also had a promising opening half to 2019, with individual time trial victories at the Vuelta a Andalucia and the Belgium Tour.
Another potential for stage victories in the 2019 Tour is breakaway artist Thomas De Gendt, who will ride the second of his three Grand Tours this season.
De Gendt has the potential to win from an escape in the mountains as he has proven in all three Grand Tours in the past, but in this year’s Giro he was restricted to looking after Ewan for the sprint.
The final rider to make the Tour is Maxime Monfort, who at 36 will be the oldest rider in the team.
With 19 Grand Tour rides to his name and with no wins since 2010, the Belgian will guide the young team through the France.
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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.
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