After missing out on selection for the Tour de France, Caleb Ewan returned to racing at last weekend's RideLondon-Surrey Classic, and although he failed to finish, the Australian sprinter has a number of important goals on the horizon.
Ewan will lead Mitchelton-Scott at the BinckBank Tour later this month, before turning his attention to the Tour of Britain in September, where he won three stages last year. There will be no Vuelta a Espana for the pocket-rocket sprinter, but Mitchelton's Matt White believes that Ewan has a number of opportunities to find his winning form after a testing campaign. Ewan has not tasted victory since February, and although he came same second in Milan-San Remo, the sprinter will be eager to impress after missing out on a Tour spot.
"He had some time off after not doing the Tour, but Caleb rode in London and his next races are the BinckBank Tour and then the Tour of Britain. He has been aware of his race programme for a number of weeks. We'll see how he goes in those races first. At London, he was in the early break and then had a flat later on, which meant he couldn't make it back to the front of the race. As for the next six weeks, the ball is in his court," White told Cyclingnews.
When news of Ewan's non-selection for the Tour was announced in early July it was met with shock from some quarters. The team designed a squad around Adam Yates and later started to hunt stage wins when the British climber cracked in the Alps. However, while the team declared that Ewan's July time off was due to sporting reasons alone, speculation mounted that his non-selection was linked to him not signing a new contract with Mitchelton. That boat has now sailed and Ewan will not be with the team in 2019. Transfers can officially be announced this month and with Lotto confirming that Andre Greipel has left, the path is now clear for Ewan, who expected to officially join the team along with lead-out man Roger Kluge. White would not speculate on the matter, having recently re-signed both Yates brothers to long-term contracts.
Ewan's days in a Mitchelton jersey are now limited but the team and rider will have the next few weeks to showcase that they can work together for the good of the squad.
"He's going to races that suit him, and where there are a number of stages in both those races that he can target and be successful in. He will be well supported, no doubt. He's our sprinter for those upcoming races. We're sending him to races where he should be able to win, he has done it in the past and we will support him in those endeavours."