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Caleb Ewan will ride the Tour de France in 2018, Orica-Scott, which will be known as Mitchelton-Scott next season, announced on Wednesday.
“If there’s any race that you want to do when you’re growing up as an aspiring young cyclist it would be the Tour de France,” Ewan said. “I’ve been itching to get there ever since I turned professional. I think that next year I will be definitely be ready for it. It will be the fourth Grand Tour that I have started and after getting stage wins at both the Giro and the Vuelta the aim is to keep that going into the Tour and try to get a stage win there.
“Obviously the Tour is a unique event and I am looking at it as another step up, but I feel that I am ready for it and with the success, we have been having within the sprint train we have speed and versatility for different types of finishes.”
The 2017 season saw 23-year-old Ewan victorious on 12 occasions, including the Australian criterium title and a stage win on stage seven of the Giro d’Italia into Alberobello. 2017 was his second appearance at the Giro d’Italia.
Ewan has yet to finish a grand tour, despite having three starts under his belt — one each in the past three years. In 2015, he rode the Vuelta a Espana and won the fifth stage into Alcalá de Guadaíra over John Degenkolb and Peter Sagan. He abandoned the race on stage 10, but the team had pre-planned his early exit. He abandoned the 2016 Giro after stage 12 and the 2017 Giro after stage 14.
The Australian-based WorldTour team has been careful with Ewan’s develop and head sport director Matt White spoke of the importance of the development process undertaken to arrive at Ewan’s first Tour start.
“We know that Caleb is ready for the Tour,” said White. “It is going to be a learning experience and we will be supporting him 100-percent. He has won at the Giro and the Vuelta and the natural progression is that now he gets a crack at the Tour de France. It has been a very deliberate process with Caleb regarding getting to the Tour, he has been hungry for it the last couple of seasons and it has been a three-year development to get him to this level where we feel he is ready for it.
“Caleb is 23 year’s old now, he has the experience of competing and winning in a Grand Tour and also the confidence that comes from winning WorldTour races with some consistency and his program for 2018 will be one that leads up to the Tour in July. As far as the route is concerned there are six potential sprint finishes within the first nine stages and that’s six different opportunities for Caleb to go for the stage win.
“It’s the Tour de France and there will be immense competition for every stage, but Caleb is ready for that and with the additions we have made to our sprint train over the last couple of seasons we have the speed and the strength in depth to get him in a position to fight for the win.”
The Tour de France will run from the 7th-29th of July 2018 and cover 3,329 kilometers over 21-stages.