Successful 2018 season comes to a close for Mitchelton-BikeExchange

Fri 7 Dec 2018

UCI Chinese Continental team Mitchelton-BikeExchange brought the curtain down on a successful 2018 season in style last month when Australian Kaden Groves took his third win of the season on the final stage of the Tour of Fuzhou, taking the team's tally for the year to eight victories from 21 races.

In addition to those eight race wins, there was national championship success for Niu Yikui at the Chinese Road Championships in July and back-to-back best Asian rider jersey’s at Tour of China I and II for Niu and compatriot Zhi Hui Jiang.

A major success for the team was 20-year-old Rob Stannard who enjoyed a breakthrough year that yielded five race wins including a standout victory in his last race at the prestigious Piccolo Lombardia and third at the Baby Giro d’Italia before moving up to the WorldTour with Mitchelton-SCOTT in October.

Stannard will be joined in 2019 by compatriot Callum Scotson and five riders graduating to WorldTour level in two seasons is clearly testament to Mitchelton-BikeExchange’s unwavering commitment to development. Although a heavy focus for 2018 was directed to the team’s Chinese riders there were positive signs throughout the team’s international roster.

Liu Jiankun complimented Groves stage win at the Tour of Quanzhou Bay with ninth overall and Colombian climber Brayan Chaves produced consistent performances that earned the 21-year-old a stagiaire role with Mitchelton-SCOTT at the Colorado Classic, Tour of Utah and the Japan Cup.

Chinese all-rounder Sun Xiaolong joined Chaves in WorldTour colours in Colorado and prospective climbing talent Nazaerbieke Bieken showing solid signs of progression after making the transition to the road from high level mountain bike racing.

With such a strong multinational element to the team the results show that the balance was very positive, with Australian’s Harry Sweeny and Sam Jenner providing an experienced spine to the squad and British sprinter Jacob Hennessy showing progressive promise throughout what turned out to be another successful year for the Chinese team.

Sport director James Victor:

“This year was very different to 2017 because we spread our race schedule across Asia and Europe and we still secured some great results.  We made a lot of progress with regard to the ethos that development is the key factor of Mitchelton-BikeExchange.”

“Rob Stannard hit another level before moving up to WorldTour with Mitchelton-SCOTT in October and he showed with five wins that he is well on track with his development. His head is in the right place and he’s on course to become a solid professional after achieving some great results this year.

“Another potentially great find is Kaden Groves. Although Kaden was only with us for half the season he racked up three wins in tough races on Chinese soil. He is raw, developing very quickly and is clearly a talent to keep an eye on.

“Kaden and Jacob Hennessy became our focus in the sprints of the Asia Tour and that proved to be inspirational for our Chinese riders as the team gained results as a unit with stage wins sitting alongside best Asian rider jersey’s and solid GC placings – especially at Tour of China I with Niu Yikui finishing fifth.

“Niu winning the Chinese Road Championships was another highlight for us, a Chinese team having the national champion racing and doing well racing in home tours is further testament to the progress we have made this season.

“It’s pleasing that our Chinese riders have not only learnt a lot through the year but have also achieved results for themselves and as a team. Our support for the development of Chinese cycling is a major aspect of the team and this season we have seen other Asian teams looking to us for how to do things. That’s a real compliment to our riders and staff.”

Key results in 2018:

1stPiccolo Lombardia – Rob Stannard

1stGiro d’Italia U23 – Stage 9b (ITT) – Rob Stannard

1stGiro del Belvedere – Rob Stannard

1stTour de Bretagne – Stage 7 – Rob Stannard

1stGran Premio di Poggiana – Rob Stannard

1stTour of Fuzhou – Stage 5 – Kaden Groves

1stTour of Quanzhou Bay - Stage 1 – Kaden Groves

1stTour of Qinghai Lake – Stage – 13 – Kaden Groves

1stChinese Road Championships – Road Race – Niu Yikui

3rdGiro d’Italia U23 – General Classification – Rob Stannard

5thTour of China 1 – General Classification – Niu Yikui