Yates and Mitchelton-SCOTT eyeing pink at Giro d’ItaliaMon 6 May 2019
Twelve months on from a spectacular performance that saw them win five stages and wear the Maglia Rosa for 13 stages, Mitchelton-SCOTT and Simon Yates are eyeing the biggest prize when the 2019 Giro d’Italia kicks off on Saturday.
Yates, who has since bagged his first Grand Tour victory at the Vuelta a Espana, returns with more confidence and more learnings as he aims for back-to-back three-week race success.
The 26-year-old will be surrounded by a talented and experienced Mitchelton-SCOTT outfit, including the likes of powerhouses Jack Bauer, Luke Durbridge and Chris Juul-Jensen to guide him through the first and flatter half of racing, before Brent Bookwalter, Lucas Hamilton, Mikel Nieve and Esteban Chaves take over as a formidable force in the mountains.
Mitchelton-SCOTT at the Giro d’Italia:
Jack Bauer (NZL, 34)
Brent Bookwalter (USA, 35)
Esteban Chaves (COL, 29)
Luke Durbridge (AUS, 28)
Lucas Hamilton (AUS, 23) - Grand Tour debut
Chris Juul-Jensen (DEN, 29)
Mikel Nieve (SPA, 34)
Simon Yates (GBR, 26)
The 2019 Giro d’Italia will cover 3518.5km across its 21 stages, with 58km of time trialling split between three stages.
Albeit with quite a lot of longer stages in terms of kilometres, the first ten days of racing don’t offer any major climbing challenges so we will have to be patient for the real general classification battle to begin.
Organisers claim that with 46,500m of total elevation, the 102nd edition will be one of the hardest routes of recent years. With most of that coming packed neatly into the second half of racing, it’ll be then that the real battle begins.
In the past seven years at the Giro d’Italia Mitchelton-SCOTT has claimed 13 stage victories, worn the pink leader’s jersey for 25 days and had a top general classification position of second in 2016.
Last year alone the Australian outfit lit up the Italian Grand Tour with an aggressive style, claiming five stage wins, including three in the Maglia Rosa, and leading the race for 13 days.
Simon Yates - Mitchelton-SCOTT Leader:
“I wanted to go back to the Giro, that’s what’s driving me at the moment, and that’s what I have the passion to get out of bed for every morning.
“I’m approaching the Giro the same way I would do any other race. I am, more or less, always in a leadership role within the team and I really like to try to win every race I start, so for me it’s just business as usual.
“There are many strong rivals, it’s a very packed field. I wouldn’t really like to single out anyone, I think they are all very strong and a lot of them have already won week-long races this year.
“In a way I have unfinished business at the Giro, but I would just like to have another go. We were so close last year so I’m motivated to give it another go and I’m trying to arrive in the best shape possible to try and do that.
“We start directly with a prologue, so we will know how everyone’s form is there. If I can race aggressively, like I would do normally, that’s how I would like to race because that’s what I enjoy but we’ll have to see once we get there.
“I like to race aggressively but you can’t always do that unfortunately and that’s what I really learnt from last season. I will apply those lessons and hopefully come off with the win.”
Matt White – Head Sport Director:
“You’re only as good as your last win, and our last Grand Tour was a win so naturally we’re going into the Giro as one of the favourites.
“We’re heading to Italy with the aim of finishing off the job this year. That may mean we don’t win as many stages, but we’re looking at the bigger prize. We’re 12months on from the last edition, we’ve learnt a lot in those 12months, and our job is to put that to good use across the three weeks of racing.
“We’ve run a very similar template with Simon’s build up again this year, he is in similar shape which means it’s a good place to be starting our journey.
“We have had some bad luck with some late changes due to injuries, but it does show that we have some depth in the team to fill those places with some very capable bike riders and I’m certainly very confident that we’re going to be able to support Simon at an incredibly high level with the group that we’ve put together.
“It’s a very experienced composition we have been able to assemble, with Simon being the second youngest in the team, and they share a few Grand Tours caps between them.
“The thing that stands out in the first 12 stages is that there are no major climbs to really test the GC guys, but what it does have is kilometres – there’s a lot of long stages, a lot of stages over 200km in the first half. At the end of the day this will wear people down but because the Giro will be won in the second half, it’s about conserving energy and being efficient as a team in the first half of the race.
“If there’s ever a Giro that you could ride into, this would be this one. But in saying that, some of our biggest rivals have shown they are in very good shape already so there’ll be some tests early on, but nothing definitive.”
Photo courtesy of Getty Images.