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MTS to take advantage of talent & racing nous for opportunities around GC ambitions at Vuelta

Tue 21 Aug 2018

Mitchelton-SCOTT have finalised an exciting and talent-packed line up for the Vuelta a Espana which starts in Malaga this weekend.

Following earlier confirmation of the participation of British twins Adam and Simon Yates, and subsequent overall ambitions with the latter, the full eight-rider team also includes a number of exciting opportunists, including four-time 2017 stage winner and current European champion Matteo Trentin and Giro d’Italia stage winner Luka Mezgec.

The Team:
Michael Albasini (SUI, 37)
Alexander Edmondson (AUS, 24)
Jack Haig (AUS, 24)
Damien Howson (AUS, 26)
Luka Mezgec (SLO, 30)
Matteo Trentin (ITA, 29)
Adam Yates (GBR, 26)
Simon Yates (GBR, 26)

The Race:
The final Grand Tour of the season, the Vuelta a Espana, is typically considered the more relaxed of the trio of three-week races, but is shaping up to be no less competitive than the Giro d’Italia or Tour de France with a field stacked with the highest quality contenders. 

The 21 stages cover a total of 3254.7km and feature two individual time trials, six sprint stages, six ‘hilly’ stages and nine challenging mountain or summit-finish stages. 

The Objective:
Mitchelton-SCOTT will continue its general classification development of the Yates brothers, with three-time 2018 Giro d’Italia stage winner Simon Yates targeting an overall result. With a focus on progression from previous attempts, brother Adam Yates and Australian climbing duo Jack Haig and Damien Howson will support the 26-year-old in the mountains. 

The remaining quartet will support the team’s overall ambitions but also back the talent of Trentin and Mezgec for opportunistic stage victories. Veteran Suisse Michael Albasini will play a versatile role as well as filling the road captain duties, whilst Alex Edmondson will be nurtured in his support of the group in his second Grand Tour start.

Race History:
In the past six years Mitchelton-SCOTT has claimed 11 stage victories at the Vuelta a Espana and had two different riders feature in the red leader’s jersey for a total of nine days. 

The team’s best result was third overall with Esteban Chaves in 2016, a year that also saw teammate Simon Yates finish sixth – his top GC performance to date.

Julian Dean – Sport Director:
“Certainly our objective for the Vuelta is the general classification like we have already said.  But when you have a guy like Trentin, who last year won four stages, and a guy like Luka Mezgec, who has won stages at the Giro before, you can’t come into a race and not look for opportunities where these guys can potentially win stages. 

“The idea is to manage our resources. Obviously now with eight riders it takes a little bit more juggling, but we’ve certainly got enough talent and racing nous to look for opportunities without spending too much energy to keep our options open for stage wins and complete the GC support roles. 

“We’ve seen great things from both Damien and Jack in the last couple of years at Grand Tours, Damo previously in the Vuelta and Jack at the Giro d’Italia this year.

“We have some good, clear objectives for Damien to be able to support Simon in the medium mountain stages. He has been riding well at the Tour of Colorado after breaking his wrist at the Tour de France, so certainly he is ready and primed for the Vuelta.

“We’ve seen Jack work really well with Simon during the Giro this year. He was a big standout for the team there, and we will be looking to see more of the same from Jack again. He will be able to come into this race with a lot more confidence after his performance at the Giro.

“Albasini, with his experience, will have a key role of leading the group out on the road. He is also a very versatile rider, so he will be able to cross over to help the GC guys and the sprint group.

“It is a bit of development opportunity for Edmondson. He had some experience at the Giro last year, but he is going to be around a couple of good guys and they will be able to direct him in some of these sprints at the Vuelta. There will be some varied roles for Alex to do which will be a big learning curve for him.” 

Matteo Trentin:
“After all of the trouble at the start of the year, the Vuelta has become the biggest target of the year for me because I didn’t perform how I wanted at the Classics and I missed the Tour de France and some other races with injury. 

“After the European Championships I am starting with the jersey so for sure my confidence and moral has been boosted more for this Vuelta. 

“We have a good balanced team for the Vuelta. We will support the general classification for Simon with a few really good climbers around him, and we also have some great guys who can support the sprint or stage opportunities.”

Luka Mezgec:
"I am happy to be the part of Vuelta squad. With Simon, especially after the big success he had at the Giro, the motivation to help such a strong leader is high. But, I'm also looking forward to some opportunities for myself if the right situation happens to come up."

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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