Mitchelton-SCOTT has named its eight-man squad for the upcoming Tour de France, calling on a mix of climbing specialists and ‘big’ men to support leader Adam Yatesat the second Grand Tour of the season.
The 26-year-old finished just shy of the podium to take fourth and the white jersey in 2016 but his reappearance in 2018 didn’t go as planned. This year he will return again with three wins already to his name this season, plus overall podiums at Tirreno-Adriatico and Volta Catalunya.
Mitchelton-SCOTT at the Tour de France (6 – 28 July):
Luke Durbridge (AUS, 28) – 6th TDF appearance
Jack Haig (AUS, 25) – TDF debut
Michael Hepburn (AUS, 27) – 2nd TDF appearance
Daryl Impey (RSA, 34) – 7th TDF appearance
Chris Juul-Jensen (DEN, 29) – 2nd TDF appearance
Matteo Trentin (ITA, 29) – 5th TDF appearance
Adam Yates (GBR, 26) – 4th TDF appearance
Simon Yates (GBR, 26) – 4th TDF appearance
Yates will be supported in the mountains by twin Simon Yates, who will return the favour to his brother after he successfully and crucially guided him to his first Grand Tour victory at the Vuelta a Espana last year.
Joining them will be Australian and Tour de France debutant Jack Haig, who also proved crucial support in the team’s successes at the 2018 Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana as well as finishing fourth overall himself at this year’s Paris-Nice.
Fellow Australian duo Luke Durbridge, Michael Hepburnand Dane Chris Juul-Jensen, all part of Mitchelton-SCOTT’s team time trial victory at Tirreno-Adriatico in March, will guide Yates through the flat stages and bolster the second stage TTT, whilst puncheurs Daryl Impeyand Matteo Trentin will prove crucial in hectic finishes.
The 2019 Tour de France will cover 3460km across its 21 stages, with five altitude finishes, 30 cat-2 or harder climbs and just 54km of time trialling across two stages, of which one will be a team time trial. The Grand Depart this year be starting in Brussels and finish with the traditional stage on the Champs Elysees.
When the course was revealed, the major talking point was the heights in which the Tour de France would tackle in 2019. There will be three finishes above 2000m – Col du Tourmalet, Tignes and Val Thorens – which is a first in history for the Tour de France. Alongside the three altitude finishes, the route will pass six other peaks above 2000m.
A disappointing race in 2018 saw Mitchelton-SCOTT leave the Tour de France without a top general classification result or stage victory. The two years prior the team finished in the top ten overall (4th in 2016 and 7th in 2017), both times claiming the best young rider’s white jersey.
Earlier in its existence Mitchelton-SCOTT’s emphasis was on stage victories and in its seven appearances at the French Grand Tour the Australian outfit has claimed three – two in 2013 and one in 2016.
2013 was a major highlight in the team’s history – the two stage victories (Simon Gerrans and Team Time Trial) resulted in four days in the race leader’s yellow jersey – two days for Gerrans before he famously passed it onto teammate Impey.
Adam Yates – Team Leader:
“After Dauphine I’ve managed to come back around pretty quick, back into full training and feeling good so hopefully it was just a minor bump.
“The Tour this year is a tough one, especially towards the end of the race. I checked out stages 18, 19, 20 just before Dauphine and three stages like that back-to-back at the very end of the race will be sure to have some fireworks. Not only that, but there’s some real tricky stages like stage six to Planche des Belles Filles, which I know quite well from when I raced for CC Etupes and lived in France. So overall a very tough route with some challenging terrain.
“A couple years ago I was fourth and not far from the podium, I don’t really want to put a marker on what I want to achieve, I just know I’ll like to go better than previously and with the condition and consistency I’ve had this year I don’t see why not.
“We’re bringing a super strong team for pretty much all terrain. Imps and Trentin will be able to have a go at some of the lumpy sprint stages and then I’ll have the big guys like Durbo, Heppy and Chris to keep me out of trouble and out of the wind on the nervous flat stages.
“Once we hit the mountains Jack and Simon will be there to push the pace if we need to, so I feel we’ve got a really nice balanced team that will help us challenge for the win.”
Matt White – Head Sport Director:
“Our primary goal is to give Adam Yates every chance possible to arrive on the podium come Paris, but our secondary goal is also to win a stage.
“We have a good combination of riders who can help achieve those goals, and to get a result as a key GC rider, you are very much reliant on the strength of the team. If we can continue to support Adam as we did Simon at the Giro then this will only enhance Adam’s chances of a solid result.
“On a climbing front we will have Simon Yates in a super domestic role. His primary goal is to be there for his brother Adam and to return the favour from the Vuelta last year.
“We also have Jack Haig in the same role, one which he has excelled in over the last two seasons. His climbing talents will become even more valuable in the crucial backend of the race. He has done a few Grand Tours with the team but this will be his first Tour de France and it will be a great opportunity for him to gain experience on the biggest stage there is in our sport.
“Daryl will be our captain on the road. He is the oldest and most experienced, and he is no stranger to the Tour de France and how we operate and I have a lot of faith in him and his decision making. Besides being a super teammate, and one that has been part of many of our successes over the years, he is a guy that can be looking for opportunities throughout the month for a stage win.
“Matteo joined the team to win stages at Grand Tours. He is a very versatile character – in mountains, team time trial, and sprints – and he will certainly be getting his chances during the Tour.
“The trio of Chris, Durbo and Heppy are our engine room. They are guys we’ve used across different Grand Tours with a lot of success. They might not have the most glamourous role, but for our team they are a very valuable asset. They have been key across many of our biggest wins and a lot of the workload does fall on the shoulders of those three, especially on the flatter roads of France.”