In a show of confidence for their 23-year-old sprinter who finished 10th in his first appearance in Milan-San Remo last year, Mitchelton-Scott are sending Caleb Ewan back to La Primavera with his full three-man lead-out train intact.
Tour Down Under winner Daryl Impey, Roger Kluge, Luka Mezgec will join Ewan on the start line in Milan on Saturday, along with Jack Bauer, Mathew Hayman and Matteo Trentin. The team are hoping the experienced roster backing their young sprinter can recreate the day that saw them win the race in 2012 with Simon Gerrans.
"Milan-San Remo will always be a special race for us; it was the first monument we won back in 2012 and a race that really put the team on the map," said Micthelton-Scott director Matt White.
"We have a really versatile and experienced group of riders lining up on Saturday," White said, "and I am quietly confident that regardless of the way the race pans out we can achieve a great result."
In is first attempt at the race last year, Ewan comported himself well, taking 10th overall after finishing seventh in the field sprint behind a small breakaway that included winner Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansroge) and French revelation Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors).
Most importantly for Ewan in his debut run at the 291km race, he made it over the day's 'tre capi' followed by the Cipressa and Poggio climbs before the finish along the Via Roma in San Remo's city centre.
"Last year I managed to get over the Cipressa and the Poggio in the front group and I was feeling good on the climbs and happy to finish in the top 10 on my first appearance, and if you're to stand any chance of winning you have to be in a good position over those two last climbs," Ewan said.
"It's a long race, at nearly 300km, and most of my training lately has been geared towards getting through a race of that length and having enough left to be competitive at the end," he said.
So far this season Ewan has won a stage at the Tour Down Under and the one-day Clasica de Almeria in Spain to go along with his title in the Australian criterium championship. He was part of Mitchelton-Scott's runner-up roster in the Tirreno-Adriatico team time trial, but then he left the race during Sunday's fifth stage. He says he's ready now for the long day at Milan-San Remo.
"Having done the race last year I know what to expect," he said. "I'm another year older, I've got another season in my legs and in 2017 I had to abandon Tirreno-Adriatico early on with sickness and didn't get the benefit of going deeper into the race.
"We have a really strong team for the race, it's the only monument that a sprinter can win, and ever since I turned professional it's a race that I wanted to take part in and to try and win."
Mitchelton-Scott for Milan-San Remo: Jack Bauer,Caleb Ewan, Mathew Hayman, Daryl Impey, Roger Kluge, Luka Mezgec, Matteo Trentin
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