Ewan to target sprint stages and Yates eases back into racing at Tour of CaliforniaThu 10 May 2018
Mitchelton-SCOTT return to the Amgen Tour of California at the weekend with a strong team looking to support sprinter Caleb Ewan and Briton Adam Yates with both riders returning to competitive action.
A beautiful seven-day race that criss-crosses the Golden State and includes sprint opportunities, an uphill finish at Lake Tahoe and a mid-race individual time trial in San Jose.
There’s something for everyone and for the Australian outfit will form an important part of the ongoing preparation for this year’s Tour de France.
Tirreno-Adriatico stage winner Yates, leads the team alongside 23-year-old Ewan, but with this being Yates’s first race back after suffering a fracture sustained in a crash on stage three of the Volta a Catalunya, the pressure will be off.
Strong support for Ewan in the sprints comes from Slovenian champion Luka Mezgec, Kiwi Jack Bauer and experienced German Roger Kluge with 2016 Paris Roubaix champion Mathew Hayman and compatriot Michael Hepburn completing the line-up.
Jack Bauer (NZL, 33)
Caleb Ewan (AUS, 23)
Mathew Hayman (AUS, 40)
Michael Hepburn (AUS, 26)
Roger Kluge (DE, 32)
Luka Mezgec (SLO, 29)
Adam Yates (GBR, 25)
This will be the team’s first appearance back at the race since 2014 when Esteban Chaves won the queen stage with Yates close behind in fourth on the day and eventually finishing fifth overall in his first season with the team.
2018 marks the 13thedition of the Tour and will cover 1,038kilometres over seven stages with the Queen Stage arriving early and including a summit finish atop Gibraltar road on day two, before a scenic showdown at South Lake Tahoe on stage six and a final sprint stage in downtown Sacramento.
“I’ve got good memories from the last time I was here in 2014, we had a good team, achieved a stage win and I finished fifth overall so I’m looking forward to returning.”
“We’ve got a super strong team here with good options for different stages and the varied terrain and like last time it’s a challenging route. It’s only six weeks since I crashed in Catalunya, but I’ve recovered well and I am feeling good.”
“I am really looking forward to making my first appearance at the Tour of California, it’s a great race in a beautiful part of the world and after a solid period of training at home and at altitude I can’t wait to get back into it.”
“There’s a very competitive field here, but we have a strong team and we’ve put in some great work with the sprint group around Lake Tahoe for the last ten days and it will be good to get the opportunity to put that work into a race situation.”
Sport director Matt Wilson:
“It’s our first time back at the Tour of California since 2014 and that was the year we got our only stage win there, and we’d love to mark our return with another stage win and good performance.”
“We are heading into the unknown a little due to Adam returning from injury and Caleb also coming back from a long lay-off, but there are a few stages that could suit us and we are looking forward to the race with the objective being to perform well and try to get a result.”
Amgen Tour of California – Stages:
Sunday 13thMay, Stage 1: Long Beach – Long Beach, 134km
Monday 14thMay, Stage 2: Ventura to Gibraltar Road, Santa Barbara, 157km
Tuesday 15thMay, Stage 3: King City to Laguna Seca, 197km
Wednesday 16thMay, Stage 4: San Jose to Morgan Hill, ITT, 35km
Thursday 17thMay, Stage 5: Stockton to Elk Grove, 176km
Friday 18thMay, Stage 6: Folsom to South Lake Tahoe, 196km
Saturday 19thMay, Stage 7: Sacramento to Sacramento, 143km
Photos courtesy of Getty Images.