Mitchelton-SCOTT to begin European season at the Volta a la Comunitat ValencianaSat 27 Jan 2018
Mitchelton-SCOTT are set to line up at the 69th edition of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana next week with a strong team to kick off the 2018 European campaign.
An old and challenging five-day stage race that has something for everyone including a challenging queen stage in the mountains, fast sprint finishes and a 30kilometre team time trial on stage three.
The emphasis for the Australian WorldTour outfit will be mainly on getting back into European racing and continuing with the preparation for the major season goals that lie ahead.
Michael Albasini (SUI, 37)
Sam Bewley (NZ, 29)
Roman Kreuziger (CZ, 31)
Luka Mezgec (SLO, 29)
Matteo Trentin (IT, 28)
Adam Yates (GBR, 25)
Simon Yates (GBR, 25)
The objective – Form Assessment and Conditioning:
With a strong team including 2016 and 2017 Tour de France white jerseys Adam and Simon Yates and including fast men Luka Mezgec and Matteo Trentin, Mitchelton-SCOTT will be looking to assess their early season form on both the flatter and hillier stages.
Bolstered by the experience and opportunist skills of Michael Albasini – who will enjoy a free role - and the support of climber Roman Kreuziger and kiwi Sam Bewley in the engine room the team is versatile and nicely balanced.
The favourites – A form finder for the classics and GC contenders:
Traditionally an early season hunting ground for the stage racing elite and Spring Classics contenders, previous editions have been won by Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde of Movistar and expect the Spanish team to be strong again in one of their home races with the likes of Team-Sky also up there.
A significant Queen stage that includes seven categorised climbs will decide the overall general classification along with the stage three team time trial with five race days bookended by fast sprint stages.
The Past – Stage Success:
No editions of the race took place between 2008 and 2015 and Mitchelton-SCOTT made their debut appearance in 2017 with Magnus Cort claiming a sprint victory on stage three before following that up with a top ten finish on the final day of racing.
Luka Mezgec - Sprinter:
“Valenciana will be the first race of the season for all of us guys in Europe. We had a good camp in Spain recently and my training went well throughout the winter so I’m looking forward to getting back to racing next week.”
“My main objectives for these first races is to get back into the racing rhythm and to get back to that feeling of being in the bunch again. I am confident that with every stage and every race I will have better sensations because of the good work I put in during winter.”
Sport director Laurenzo Lapage:
“The race will form a key part of our preparation for the bigger goals we have coming up in March and April – of course this doesn’t mean that we aren’t looking for results, but that we will race without so much pressure on the guys.”
“For all of these guys it will be the first competitive race of 2018 and after all the great work they have been putting in over the winter I am sure that they are ready but will need some time to get back into the different demands of racing.
“Matteo has made a good recovery form a training ride crash and we are happy to have him back, but the main onus for him will be staying risk free and just getting some kilometres back in the legs.
“Adam and Simon will have some good opportunities to test themselves and stretch their legs on the mountainous fourth stage, but again it will be about seeing where they are at and assessing the form at this early stage of the season.”
Wednesday 31st January - Stage 1: Oropesa del Mar to Peniscola, 191.5km
Thursday 1st February - Stage 2: Betera to Albuixech, 154km
Friday 2nd February - Stage 3: Poble Nou de Benitaxell to Calpe (TTT), 30.3km
Saturday 3rd February - Stage 4: Orihuela to Concentania, 184.2km
Sunday 4th February - Stage 5: Paterna to Valencia, 135.2km
Photos courtesy of Getty Images