• Esteban Chaves winning Stage 19 of the 2019 Giro D'Italia. (Getty)Source: Getty
Mitchelton-SCOTT has named its eight-man squad led by Esteban Chaves for the 2019 Vuelta a España with a focus on stage wins and a place on the overall podium.
Cycling Central

19 Aug 2019 - 9:34 AM 

The team will not field defending champion Simon Yates, giving 2016 podium finisher Esteban Chaves the opportunity to claim his first Grand Tour overall win.

“I am happy with the team we have, we have a really nice group. [Mikel] Nieve is for sure in good shape, he is a really unbelievable and professional rider and always has a good performance.

"Also we saw the guys at the Tour Poland, like Luka Mezgec, he was sprinting really fast. The sprints in the Vuelta are a bit different and I think they are good for him.

“After the Giro d’Italia I did a recon of the stage in Andorra, there is a really nice climb and many of the other climbs I know well after living in Andorra for a long time. The individual time trial also looks like a punchy course with enough climbing, not just super flat and that is good for me.

“I also really like to start with a TTT, our team is one team that always puts a lot of effort into that and it is a really nice way to start a Grand Tour.

“The Vuelta is one race that has always treated me well since 2014, it was my first ever Grand Tour. I am excited to start racing, hopefully, for all the work we have put in, the Vuelta will be good and that is what excites me.”

The 21 stage race features seven-summit finishes and an interesting course that also lends itself to the opportunity for taking stages wins said Sport Director Julian Dean.

“If you look at the race across three-weeks it is really relentless and already within the first week, there’s some real aggressive and hard stages.

"There’s not really an easy consecutive few days during the whole Vuelta, so the full team has to be ready from the get-go.

"It is going to be a race where strength and vigilance is going to be necessary from anyone who is hoping to contest the overall."

The squad includes Ethiopian time trial champion Tsgabu Grmay, New Zealanders Sam Bewley and Dion Smith, Damien Howson and fellow Australian Nick Schultz.