Ewan focused on rebuilding his season but has options for 2019

Agent denies that contract with Lotto Soudal has been agreed

Caleb Ewan has put the disappointment of missing out on the Tour de France behind him as he gears up for the second half of the season.

The Australian was a surprise omission from the Mitchelton-Scott team for the Tour with the squad putting all their eggs in the Adam Yates basket as they chase a podium spot in the overall classification.

Ewan was informed of Mitchelton-Scott's decision to leave him off the team days before the event, and posted his frustration on Twitter. However, according to his agent, Jason Bakker, who works with a number of high-profile young Australian riders, Ewan is back in training and looking forward to several goals later in the year.

Part of the controversy over Ewan missing the Tour came down to his ongoing contract situation. The 24-year-old's current deal at Mitchelton-Scott expires at the end of the season, and speculation in June indicated that a move to Lotto Soudal had already been agreed for 2019.

Mitchelton's management denied that the rumours were part of the reason Ewan was left at home during the Tour, citing sporting reasons for their decision to build their team around Yates.

Cyclingnews understands that the Australian team have re-signed both Adam and Simon Yates on long-term deals with improved financial packages for both brothers in order to retain the services. At this point, Ewan has not received an offer from Mitchelton for next season, with negotiations – before the Tour omission – put off until after the Tour.
 
According to Bakker, negotiations for Ewan's contract were scheduled later in the year due to the fact that Ewan had "reached a key time in his career", and not because a deal with Lotto Soudal had already been signed. However, Lotto-Soudal confirmed in June that they had talked with Bakker, and that the team were open to keeping Greipel and signing another sprinter for the future. 

 
"I think this has been a very tough time for Caleb, but he continues in good harmony with all of the boys in his team, and he loves their camaraderie, but this is a pretty pivotal time in his career," Bakker told Cyclingnews. "He's had a lot to think about over the last few months in terms of his career direction, how his team fits that, and how he fits in with his team's goals moving forward.

"He’s young, but he's getting into his prime as a sprinter now. I think Caleb potentially has some good options to consider, and Lotto may be one of those options, but there's some water to flow under the bridge yet."

Both Lotto Soudal and now Bakker have told Cyclingnews that talks have taken place in relation to Ewan joining the team for next year, but that no contract or terms have been agreed. The Belgian team is also in the midst of finalising the future of its current sprinter Andre Greipel.

Tension arose at the Tour de Suisse after Greipel accused Lotto Soudal general manager Paul de Geyter of lying over their negotiations. 
 
"For Caleb, one of the options we favoured from the word go had been to stay at Mitchelton-Scott, but he is understandably looking out for the best opportunity and the best mutual fit," said Bakker.
 
Ewan's race programme for the second half of the campaign has not yet been announced, but having missed the Tour last year before concentrating on the Tour of Poland and a series of one-day races, a similar schedule is likely.

Bakker stressed that his client had no animosity towards Mitchelton, and that Ewan was determined to have his legs do the talking in the coming months.

Whichever team Ewan rides for in 2019, the 24-year-old doesn't want his current season overshadowed by one race omission. 
 
"After a pretty significant disappointment, he has quickly put that behind him and can see the way forward," Bakker said. "He's not going to let his year be defined by the fact that he's not riding the Tour de France. He wants to let his legs do the talking, and he will."

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