• Mitchelton-Scott boss Matt White (L) plots Willunga pre-stage tactics at the Tour Down Under with Daryl Impey. (Getty)Source: Getty
Mitchelton-Scott sports director Matt White rebuffed suggestions that he would have changed his decision over Caleb Ewan's controversial omission if he had the chance to choose again.
Cycling Central

22 Jul 2018 - 8:11 AM  UPDATED 22 Jul 2018 - 12:29 PM

It's been a torrid Tour de France for the Mitchelton-Scott squad, with team leader Adam Yates falling out of the calculations for a General Classification result. 

Yates' tilt at the Yellow Jersey was the sole focus for the squad and with the squad built solely around that goal, it has proved tough for the team to shift their focus to pursuing stage victories. With that shift, the approach of leaving noted fast man Caleb Ewan at home has come under fire, a man who would be right up there in the contention with the best sprinters.

"I picked the best team for what we are trying to achieve here, and I am confident we picked the best team," White said, speaking to Rupert Guinness for a piece that appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald.

"We can’t have a crystal ball in sport, but I wouldn’t change my decision at all."

Tan Lines: Why Caleb must jump ship
It would've been the perfect Tour de France for him. Caleb Ewan cannot afford to miss another. And that is why he must go, writes Anthony Tan.
Ewan camp deals with Tour de France backflip
Mitchelton-Scott created a big surprise in the Tour de France squad announcement, leaving out Caleb Ewan after the young sprinter had previously been assured of a spot on the team.

The decision to leave Ewan at home was a controversial one, partially because the Australian sprinter is regarded as one of the best talents in Australian cycling and also due to the fact that it came after a public guarantee from the team that he would be making his Tour de France debut.

In the same piece for SMH, Guinness asked Mitchelton-Scott General Manager Shayne Bannan about the whether the December 2017 press release was a mistake. 

"Yeah certainly," Bannan said. "It was not the correct thing to do, putting a statement out so early when so many things can happen. Sport, particularly at an elite level, is pretty dynamic."

Why Mitchelton-Scott loses in Ewan’s Tour non-selection
From the moment that Caleb Ewan signed on with GreenEdge back in 2013, it’s not been a matter of if the prodigious sprinter would get a start at the Tour de France, but when.
Caleb Ewan 'devastated' by Tour de France omission
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.

The Tour has seen the rise of sprinters of Ewan's generation. Both Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) and Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) are young sprinters who have achieved success at this year's race, both claiming a pair of stage wins before being eliminated on the mountainous Stage 12 to Alpe D'Huez.

With Adam Yates barely sighted since falling out of contention, the sights have shifted to other riders on the Australian-registered team.

Mitchelton-Scott nearly took a stage win with Giro stage winner victor Mikel Nieve, with the Spaniard only caught in the final few hundred metres by Geraint Thomas on Stage 10. He faded to finish fifth, clearly dispirited after giving so much to try and win. 

Damien Howson and Yates, together with Nieve, probably represent the best chance for a win for the team in the mountains, with a win from a breakaway the most likely route.

Daryl Impey and Michael Hepburn were present in the breakaway on Stage 14, with Impey saying that it was the first time that his knee hadn't troubled him after the South African went down in a fall on Stage 2.

Impey is renowned as a rapid finsher on the flat, he wouldn't normally be considered a Grand Tour stage winner, but with the abandonments of many of the top-tier sprinters, he stands a decent chance of snagging a result.