Newly crowned European road race champion Matteo Trentin has been confirmed as part of Mitchelton-Scott's Vuelta a España line-up. Trentin won four stages last year in the Spanish Grand Tour and heads to the race alongside Adam and Simon Yates.
For the second Grand Tour in a row, there is no place for Caleb Ewan, who has already announced that he will ride for Lotto Soudal in 2019. However, the Australian team have built a solid team for the Vuelta.
Simon Yates came within a couple of days of winning the Giro d'Italia in May and returns to Grand Tour racing after skipping the Tour de France. He will be supported in the mountains by his brother Adam, as well as Damien Howson and Jack Haig. The team also includes the experienced Michael Albasini, Alexander Edmondson and sprinter/lead-out man Luka Mezgec.
"Certainly our objective for the Vuelta is the general classification, like we have already said," said directeur sportif Julian Dean "But when you have a guy like Trentin, who last year won four stages, and a guy like Luka Mezgec, who has won stages at the Giro before, you can't come into a race and not look for opportunities where these guys can potentially win stages.
"The idea is to manage our resources. Obviously, now with eight riders it takes a little bit more juggling, but we've certainly got enough talent and racing nous to look for opportunities without spending too much energy to keep our options open for stage wins and complete the GC support roles."
Howson returns to racing after crashing out of the Tour de France with a wrist injury. He came back earlier in August and finished fourth overall at the Colorado Classic. Haig, another promising climber, rode the Giro d'Italia in May and recently finished third at the Tour of Utah.
"We've seen great things from both Damien and Jack in the last couple of years at Grand Tours, Damo previously in the Vuelta and Jack at the Giro d'Italia this year," Dean added. "We have some good, clear objectives for Damien to be able to support Simon in the medium mountain stages. He has been riding well at the Tour of Colorado after breaking his wrist at the Tour de France, so certainly he is ready and primed for the Vuelta.
"We've seen Jack work really well with Simon during the Giro this year. He was a big standout for the team there, and we will be looking to see more of the same from Jack again. He will be able to come into this race with a lot more confidence after his performance at the Giro. Albasini, with his experience, will have a key role of leading the group out on the road. He is also a very versatile rider, so he will be able to cross over to help the GC guys and the sprint group."
For Trentin the Vuelta a Espana represents his maiden Grand Tour for Mitchelton-Scott. He has won stages in all three Grand Tours, and after a season disrupted by injury and bad luck, the Italian looks to be firing on all cylinders as the final block of this campaign begins.
"After all of the trouble at the start of the year, the Vuelta has become the biggest target of the year for me because I didn't perform how I wanted at the Classics and I missed the Tour de France and some other races with injury. After the European Championships I am starting with the jersey so for sure my confidence and morale has been boosted more for this Vuelta," he said.
"We have a good balanced team for the Vuelta. We will support the general classification for Simon with a few really good climbers around him, and we also have some great guys who can support the sprint or stage opportunities."
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