Mitchelton-Scott have named their lineup for the upcoming Giro d’Italia, with Tirreno-Adriatico champion Simon Yates leading the squad as he looks to add to his 13 days spent in the pink jersey at the 2018 edition of the race.
Yates finished eighth at last year’s Giro before going on to win two stages at the Tour de Francee, while the year before he won three stages and spent stages 6 to 18 in the maglia rosa before finishing 21st in Rome.
The Briton will head to this year’s Giro, which runs from October 3-25, in good form having taken overall victory at Tirreno-Adriatico, winning on the summit finish of Sassotteto along the way.
“Tirreno was a great victory and I’m very proud of what I accomplished there but the big goal has always been the Giro, so I hope I can hold my form from there until the end of the Giro,” Yates said in a team press release.
“Since then, I have returned to altitude in Andorra to finish my preparation at home so that I can hit two birds with one stone; spending some much needed time at home, while still preparing the best way possible to arrive in a great space for the Giro.”
Yates said that the Giro’s revised October dates means the race will be much different from usual, with bad weather likely to play a bigger role than it does in May. He added that he’s prepared for it.
“The Giro is a hard and unpredictable race. You need to be ready at any moment to adapt the strategy to prepare for victory. Normally at the Giro the weather is getting better day-by-day as we start in Spring and approach summer, whereas this year will be the complete opposite. I’m expecting some bad weather this year and I’m mentally prepared for that.
“I’m very happy with the team we have assembled. The team is basically our team from Tirreno where we worked extremely well together and that is very important going forward into the Giro, to have the understanding of how each other work together on and off the bike.”
Yates will be joined at the race start in Sicily by the full squad that accompanied him at Tirreno-Adriatico, while Damien Howson is also on the team.
Italian time trial specialist Edoardo Affini makes his Grand Tour debut in Italy, while Jack Haig, Brent Bookwalter and Tirreno stage winner Lucas Hamilton will provide mountain support. Australians Michael Hepburn and Cameron Meyer round out the eight-man squad.
“Regardless of the result in Tirreno, we were always going to come in as one of the favourites,” said Mitchelton-Scott directeur sportif Matt White.
“We haven’t hid the fact that Simon is motivated to try to win the Giro, it’s a race we came close to winning in 2018 and I think we’ve continued to learn since then. As a unit, we’re going back knowing what we are capable of – you do learn from your mistakes and your experiences and a lot of water has passed under the bridge since 2018.
“It’s not rocket science, but it’s going to be about consistency over three weeks. It’s the toughest of the three Grand Tours; we have a hard start, a hard finish and a lot of kilometres in between.”
White added that the three time trials at the Giro, which total 65km in length, will be key in the battle for the general classification. He stated that the aim will be to limit losses there and be aggressive in the mountains.
“The 65km of time trialling is substantial, especially in the modern era where you don’t see that many Grand Tours with this much time trialling, and it has an effect on our tactics.
“We’re going up against a world-class time trialler in the leader of Ineos, Geraint Thomas. The rest of our rivals are in a similar bracket to Simon and we will all be looking to limit our losses in those three time trials and take opportunities on the climbs when they are there.
“All of the climbers need to be aggressive, including us. When and where, and from who, will be interesting but we’re going to have to take time.”