For the first time this year, a Yates brother won’t ride a Grand Tour as Mitchelton-Scott announce their squad for the Vuelta a España, which features neither Adam or Simon.
Simon, who won the Vuelta in 2018, has raced both the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France this year and was rumoured to be considering returning to Spain to defend his title.
At the Tour de France, Simon Yates said: “It would mean I’ve done four Grand Tours in a row, but why not?”
Following a disappointing Giro d’Italia, where he had hoped to compete for the win, he eventually had to settle for a top 10 finish, more than seven minutes down on Richard Carapaz (Movistar).
He then went to the Tour de France to ride in support of his brother Adam, who also faltered in the GC battle, finishing 29th and over an hour down on Egan Bernal (Ineos). However, Simon won two stages in what turned out to be a fruitful race for Mitchelton-Scott who took home four stage victories in total.
At the Tour, Mitchelton-Scott sports director White appeared to have left the door open on Simon’s inclusion, saying: “I won’t confirm or deny, but three Grand Tours in a year can be quite difficult.”
However, the announcement of their eight-man squad put to bed the chances of Simon riding four Grand Tours in a row, with neither Yates brother selected for the race.
Esteban Chaves will lead the Australian team, having taken an emotional win on stage 19 of the Giro d’Italia earlier this year, announcing his comeback following a testing two years.
Luka Mezgec will hope to continue the form that saw him pick up two stage wins at the Tour of Poland, with a particularly dominant sprint victory on stage two, beating Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) and Pascal Acerkmann (Bora-Hansgrohe).
Mikel Nieve, Damien Howson, Sam Bewley, Nick Schultz, Dion Smith and Tsgabu Grmay make up the rest of the squad.
Chaves will face stiff competition from Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) and Miguel Ángel López (Astana), as Mitchelton-Scott finally look to mount a successful GC challenge at a Grand Tour in 2019.
The Vuelta a España 2019 begins with a team time trial on August 24 and finishes on September 15 in Madrid.