Stages the target in super sprint showcase at Santos Tour Down Under
Mitchelton-SCOTT today named the seven-man team who will support star sprinter Caleb Ewan in a packed field at the Santos Tour Down Under next week.
In a change from recent campaigns, the team will take a singular rather than split focus into their home and the first WorldTour race of the 2018 season, focusing solely on stage victories rather than overall honours in what is shaping up to be a sprinter’s showcase.
Jack Bauer (NZL, 32)
Alex Edmondson (AUS, 24)
Caleb Ewan (AUS, 23)
Mat Hayman (AUS, 39)
Damien Howson (AUS, 25)
Daryl Impey (RSA, 33)
Cameron Meyer (AUS, 29)
The objective – Stages:
With no clear favourite for the general classification, the focus for Mitchelton-SCOTT will be on the fast finishes with sprinter Ewan.
The team comes stacked with lead out talent, including recently crowned Australian champion Alex Edmondson, returning teammate Cameron Meyer, experienced duo Mat Hayman and Daryl Impey and new recruit Jack Bauer.
The favourites – A Sprinter’s Showcase:
In what head sport director Matt White is touting as the best sprint field in 20 years, Mitchelton-SCOTT and Ewan will find themselves against the likes of world champion Peter Sagan (Bora Hansgrohe), 11x Tour de France stage winner Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) and Italian Ella Viviani (Quickstep).
On the general classification front, BMC Racing lead the list of favourites with reigning champion Richie Porte and four-time winner Simon Gerrans, UAE Emirates bring Rui Costa whilst other Australians Nathan Haas (Katusha) and Jay McCarthy (Bora Hansgrohe) are also to watch.
The Past – Happy Hunting Ground:
The Tour Down Under is a happy hunting ground for Mitchelton-SCOTT – the home WorldTour event an important milestone every season. The Australian team has enjoyed much success, winning the overall title on three occasions (2012, 2014 & 2016) and ten stages in the last six editions, including four with Ewan last year.
Alex Edmondson – 2018 Australian Champion:
“To be able to race the Tour Down Under on my home training roads is already such a special feeling but to be able to wear the green and gold makes it unbelievable.”
“Of course it’s back to helping Caleb and the guys at the Tour Down Under. It was a very special day on Sunday but now it’s back to business in helping my teammates. I need to return the favour!”
“This year the course has some solid stages in it which is going to make for some exciting racing. For sure there will be a couple of days which will most likely come down to a bunch gallop. For the other days, there’s a chance of it coming down to a kick but we better have some climbing legs as there’s a few steep ramps in the final few kilometres.”
Caleb Ewan – Sprinter, Team Leader:
“I thought my form was good coming into the nationals and I’ve been training well so to be in the race and do well is a big confidence boost coming into the Tour Down Under and I think I am probably in my best shape ever for the Australian season.
“It’s always great to put on the green and gold jersey as the crit champion. I’ve had that for the last few years which is nice because I don’t get to wear it a lot in Europe and it’s nice that when I do get to wear it, it’s in front of a home crowd in Australia.”
“There’s probably only three stages that really suit sprinters in the 2018 Tour Down Under, and then there may be a fourth depending on how it is raced. Looking at the profiles, the first two stages and last stage suit me best and then maybe the third stage if it is a more negative race.”
“This year, the sprint field is a lot better than it’s been in the past two years so it’s definitely going to be challenging.”
Matt White – Head Sports Director:
“Caleb is in great shape but the level of competition is really high this year – Greipel, Sagan, Viviani and Caleb – it’s the best sprint field they’ve had in the past 20years. Four world class sprinters and they are each supported by strong teams, Bora-Hansgrohe almost has their Tour de France team here.
“Most teams don’t send such stacked teams to Down Under which is one reason we have had so much success here, but it’s a really good hit out for sprint teams. When you look at how many sprint opportunities there are between now and July you have to make them all count, so the higher the level of competition the better for us as we prepare Caleb for a debut at the Tour de France.
“It’s Alex Edmondson’s first race in the national champion’s jersey. He is going to play a major role in what we want to get done with Caleb in the Tour Down Under and he is part of the future with Caleb – we see him developing alongside Caleb in the years to come.”
Sunday, 14 Jan: People’s Choice Classic, Adelaide (50.6km)
Tuesday, 16 Jan: Stage 1 – Port Adelaide to Lyndoch (145km)
Wednesday, 17 Jan: Stage 2 – Unley to Stirling (148.6km)
Thursday, 18 Jan: Stage 3 – Glenelg to Victor Harbor (146.8km)
Friday, 19 Jan: Stage 4 – Norwood to Uraidla (128.2km)
Saturday, 20 Jan: Stage 5 – McLaren Vale to Willunga Hill (151.5km)
Sunday, 21 Jan: Stage 6 – Adelaide (90km)