• Adam Yates in yellow at the Crtierium du Dauphine (Getty)Source: Getty
Mitchelton-Scott have nominated plenty of riders with the potential to mix it up in the breaks and on the climbs in an aggressive long list for the Tour de France, set to start on August 29.
SBS Cycling Central

16 Jul 2020 - 2:06 AM  UPDATED 16 Jul 2020 - 2:07 AM

The long list of eleven riders includes general classification specialists Esteban Chaves and Adam Yates, though they won't have the best of the Australian WorldTour team's climbers there to support them. 

Mitchelton-Scott has opted to send the likes of Jack Haig, Lucas Hamilton and Damien Howson to the Giro d'Italia in support of Simon Yates bid for the maglia rosa there. 

Matt White hails two-year commitment from Gerry Ryan to Mitchelton-Scott
Matt White, head sports director of Mitchelton-Scott, has hailed a two-year commitment to the Australian WorldTour squad from owner and founder Gerry Ryan after a mid-season takeover from Manuela Fundacion had thrown the team into uncertainty.
Matt White: "The commitment from Gerry Ryan really helped steady the ship" - Zwift Cycling Central Podcast

In this episode of the Zwift cycling central podcast Christophe and Macka welcome Matt White from Michelton-Scott, to talk about the events of the last few weeks, and also the reboot of the 2020 season, and what it may change for the future. 

The squad took four stage wins in the 2019 edition of the Tour de France, their most successful Tour outing ever in that regard, and are looking to take a similar strategy into the 2020 edition according to head sports director Matthew White.

“After the success of last year, we want to chase stage wins at the Tour de France," said White. "We rode an aggressive style of racing last year and we want to continue in that vein this year.

“We’re reconning certain stages now. The difference this year, starting in Southern France, is that it’s a tough first week climbing-wise and it’s not just for the sprinters. I still think it’ll be hard for breaks to succeed in that first week but by the time we exit the Pyrenees on stage 10, that’s where it’ll be more aggressive and there’ll be more chances for breakaways to go to the line because you’ll have your first selection in the GC sorted."

The squad boasts no top-tier sprinters, with Edmondson, Impey and Mezgec more in the second level of fast men for reduced bunch sprints and the squad will clearly have to take their chances on the intermediate and mountain stages. 

Adam Yates and Esteban Chaves will be considered outside chances in a stacked field fighting it out for yellow jersey honours, but Mitchelton-Scott typically undersells their rider's chances in the lead-up to big races. Notably, Yates has finished fourth at the Tour de France and Chaves has podiumed at both the Vuelta and Giro.

Matthew White highlighted the prospects of Chaves on the Zwift Cycling Central podcast. 

"If there's one guy in this team that has benefitted most from the lockdown, it's definitely Esteban," said White. "The last time he was out of Colombia was for L'etape Australia, which is in December. He's been able to string a lot of consistent training together at home in high altitude.

"He looks in super shape and I think he's on Air Bernal next week," joked White. "It's a special charter flight next week with 30 of Colombia's best athletes and they're flying from Bogota to Madrid."

One rider that is conspicuous in his absence from the Grand Tours long list is reigning Australian national time-trial champion Luke Durbridge. With the man nicknamed 'Durbo' trying to assure selection for the Olympics in Tokyo, it seems like the powerful rider will pursue a world championships and classics season calendar rather than ride a Grand Tour. 

"Luke has a very big eye on the World Time-Trial Championships," said White ahead of the announcement, "and we could even see Luke miss the Tour de France to do the world championships. His dream is to do the time trial at the Olympics in Tokyo and to do that, he'd really need to show Cycling Australia that he's a medal chance."

"We're in discussions now about Luke's approach is over the next couple of months as one of the approaches is that he may miss the Tour de France to concentrate on the world time trial championships. It's a very good course for Durbo."

Mitchelton-SCOTT - Tour de France Long List:

- Jack Bauer (NZL, 35)
- Sam Bewley (NZL, 32)
- Brent Bookwalter (USA, 36)
- Esteban Chaves (COL, 30)
- Alex Edmondson (AUS, 26)
- Tsgabu Grmay (ETH, 28)
- Daryl Impey (RSA, 35)
- Chris Juul-Jensen (DEN, 31)
- Luka Mezgec (SLO, 32)
- Mikel Nieve (SPA, 36)
- Adam Yates (GBR, 27)