Considering how the Giro d’Italia went, Mitchelton-Scott are putting all of their Tour de France eggs in the classification basket with Adam Yates and leaving sprinter Caleb Ewan at home, with his likely 2019 move to Lotto-Soudal.
Australian Ewan has won stages in the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España and planned on debuting his unique sprint in the Tour de France in 2018.
>> Struggling to get to the shops? Try 6 issues of Cycling Weekly magazine for just £6 delivered to your door <<
“Original plans were to split the Tour de France team between GC and sprint ambitions with Caleb Ewan,” the Australian WorldTour team said.
“However, this season’s results have seen the high-performance team throw their support behind Yates as sole leader for the Tour de France with ambitions for results across all three weeks of the Tour.”
Yates’s twin bother and team-mate, Simon Yates led the Giro d’Italia before cracking under pressure of Team Sky and Chris Froome with two days to race. The result was still positive with Yates leading for 13 days and winning three stages.
Ewan, however, aimed at debuting in the biggest race of them all after a string of steady results over the past three years. At just aged 21 in 2015, he won a stage on his Vuelta a España debut.
The team gave no further explanation, but management must know already that Caleb Ewan, 24 this July 11, is set to join rival Belgian team Lotto-Soudal. Lotto’s top sprinter over the last eight years, André Greipel is likely to leave.
Ewan said he was “devastated” after missing out on a Tour spot, tweeting shortly after the team announced their line-up.
Mitchelton have been re-enforcing their classification team around the Yates twins and Colombian Esteban Chaves, who won the Mount Etna stage in the Giro d’Italia. Having their faith will be important when contracts are negotiated for 2019 as both Adam and Simon are up for renewal.
Adam already placed fourth in the 2016 Tour de France, wining the youth classification, and ninth in the 2017 Giro d’Italia.
He fractured his hip in March, but placed top five in stage races Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour of California. Earlier this month, he won the Mont Blanc stage and placed second behind winner Geraint Thomas (Sky) in the Critérium du Dauphiné.
Backing Adam Yates will be Jack Bauer, Luke Durbridge, Mathew Hayman, Michael Hepburn, Damien Howson, Daryl Impey and Mikel Nieve.
“A diverse team of specialists to guide the 25-year-old through a dangerous and unpredictable first nine days before the climbers come to the fore in the mountains,” said the team.
“Giro d’Italia stage winner Mikel Nieve, who supported Simon Yates in Italy in May will be the only man backing up after the team’s successful Giro campaign this year. He will return for the Tour de France and team up with another Australian in Damien Howson to play the all-important support roles in the mountains.”