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Adam Yates targets Tour success but Ewan is left out

Joe Robinson
21 Jun 2018

Mitchelton-Scott put all their eggs in the GC basket, leaving no room for sprinter Caleb Ewan

Mitchelton-Scott have named their team for the upcoming Tour de France with a lineup built around the general classification hopes of Brit Adam Yates but no place for Australian sprinter Caleb Ewan.

The team has been moulded around giving Yates the best possible chance of a high GC finish at next month's race, where the 25-year-old will be looking to improve on his fourth place and white young rider's jersey in the 2016 Tour.  

Yates will be entering the Tour in good form too, having taken a stage victory at the recent Criterium du Dauphine on his way to second place overall.

The Englishman has been provided with a strong and experienced team of climbers and rouleurs who will be tasked with guiding him through a potentially tricky opening week that includes a team time trial, a visit to the cobbles of northern France on Stage 9, not to mention the mountainous final two weeks.

At the age of 40, Matthew Hayman will undoubtedly take the role of road captain while Mikel Nieve, fresh from a stage victory at the Giro d'Italia, will assume the role as key mountain lieutenant beside capable climber Damien Howson.

The team have also opted for time trial specialists Luke Durbridge and Michael Hepburn who will be vital on stage 3's 35km TTT in Cholet.

Kiwi Jack Bauer and South African Daryl Impey complete the eight rider team.

'As always with the Tour de France, there is a lot of stress and nervousness in the bunch in the first few days, especially with the possibility of crosswinds or splits,' said Yates on the announcement of the Mitchelton-Scott lineup.

'But, I’ve got a great team focused around giving me the best opportunity to ride a strong GC, whether that’s on the flats or in the big mountain stages. We have great strength and depth which means we are able to perform under all circumstances.'

Sadly, having a team built around a GC contender and the reduction in Grand Tour team sizes from nine to eight riders means there's very little room for other ambitions. In this case, it means Australian sprinter Ewan is set to miss out.

The diminutive quick-man, who turns 24 during the Tour, was expected to make his debut appearance at the race this year, having already won stages of both the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a Espana.

It isn't clear to what extent rumours of Ewan's transfer to Belgian WorldTour team Lotto-Soudal played a role in the team's about-turn – or indeed whether the rider's omission from the Tour squad increases the chances of him making that switch.

Sport director Matt White failed to address Ewan's absence from the lineup, but did say picking the final eight-man team hadn't been easy.

'There have been some really tough decisions made this week, the toughest in our organisation’s history. We have 12 riders who are ready to go, but based on our performances this season we believe we have selected the best group who can deliver our objectives at the Tour de France next month.'

Adam Yates will go into the Tour hoping to emulate the recent success of twin Simon who rode a breakout Giro d'Italia last month, winning three stages and holding the pink leader's jersey for 13 days before spectacularly cracking on Stage 19 to Bardonecchia to fall out of contention. 

Simon eventually finished 21st overall, an hour and 15 minutes adrift of winner Chris Froome, but his efforts cemented his name as one of the most exciting Grand Tour prospects in the peloton, something Adam will no doubt be aiming to match at the Tour.