• Caleb Ewan has stepped up as one of the world's best sprinters. (Getty)Source: Getty
Caleb Ewan was all set for a Tour de France debut this year but he has missed out on selection for the Mitchelton-Scott team.
Cycling Central

Mitchelton-Scott, Herald Sun
21 Jun 2018 - 8:12 PM  UPDATED 22 Jun 2018 - 9:18 PM

In a statement released 21 June, Mitchelton-Scott said it is throwing all its eggs into the GC basket, despite its original and well-publicised plans to include the sprint star.

It was a decision based on results, the statement said, especially those of the team's GC contender Adam Yates, citing his 'multiple stage wins and top five overall performances at Volta a la Comunitat Valencia, Tirreno-Adriatico, Tour of California and runner-up at the recent Criterium du Dauphine."

Team director Matt White said it was the hardest Tour roster decision he's ever made.

“There have been some really tough decisions made this week," White said. "The toughest in our organisation’s history. We have 12 riders who are ready to go, but based on our performances this season we believe we have selected the best group who can deliver our objectives at the Tour de France next month.”

"Adam’s performance continues to improve in leaps and bounds. He has had major setbacks this year and still his performances have been impressive to say the least. We have complete faith and belief in his ability as our leader at the Tour de France."

However, Ewan's non-selection does give more credence to a rumoured exit from the Australian registered squad, the strongest of which suggests a move to Lotto-Soudal. White denied this was the reason for Ewan's non-selection. 

"We haven’t got a history (of that)," White told the Herald Sun after the statement was released. "And a perfect example is two years ago when we knew Michael Matthews was leaving, we still took him to the Tour.  

"Caleb had a solid start to the year with a stage win at Tour Down Under and a win in Europe in February, but he hasn’t won since February 11,” White said.

“So the (sprint) train hasn’t worked as he would have liked and we would have liked a lot more wins between then and now. Caleb has had 17 sprints this year and won two."

This assessment however seemingly ignores Ewan's second place at Milan San Remo in March behind Vincenzo Nibali who just managed to hold off Ewan and the chasing pack after a solo attack. It's a result that stands strong on its own at a Monument and demonstrated his versatility. But it's also a result that perhaps could've been different had Matteo Trentin stayed behind to help chase Nibali rather than try to do so on his own. 

As for Ewan's next slot of chances at the Tour of California, just one rider - other than Tom Skujins from a breakaway - Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors), won the sprint stages against the fast men. The Colombian himself struggled at the recent Tour de Suisse while Ewan had just the one sprint stage opportunity (following a crash in stage 1) at the Tour of Slovenia but lost out to Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Matteo Pelucchi (Bora-hansgrohe). 

Mitchelton-Scott at the 2018 Tour de France: Jack Bauer, Luke Durbridge, Mathew Hayman, Michael Hepburn, Damien Howson, Daryl Impey, Mikel Nieve, Adam Yates

Watch how Mitchelton-Scott's plan unfolds at the Tour de France here with us from 7 -29 July. Broadcast and streaming details TBC.

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