The New Zealand duo of Dion Smith and Sam Bewley will line up for Mitchelton-SCOTT at this year’s Vuelta a Espana. The final grand tour of the season will see the pair line up in a stage-victory-oriented team; without defending champion Simon Yates.
After missing out on the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France, Kiwis Bewley and Smith will finally get their first taste of grand tour racing this season in the final grand tour of the year; thus guaranteeing that all three Mitchelton-SCOTT Kiwis will have taken on grand tour racing this year with Jack Bauer having completed the Giro d’Italia earlier in the season.
The team will be headlined by Esteban Chaves and Mikel Nieve in terms of the possible general classification candidates; with both riders having performed well in Spain. Nieve was 8th in the 2015 edition and twice 10th, with the 35 year old also having picked up a stage win to his name. Chaves has two wins to his name from the 2015 race and a third overall in the 2016 race; where he was aided by Bewley.
Dion Smith has never raced the Vuelta a Espana and he will provide an interesting dynamic to the side, particularly on the flatter and more rolling stages . The team’s sprint possibilities will primarily rest on the shoulders of Luka Mezgec; but Smith has shown – most recently in the BinckBank Tour – that he has the ability to excel in the latter stages of races.
Sport Director Julian Dean praised the inclusion of the likes of Smith and Bewley, saying, “From our whole team’s perspective it is a really exciting combination of guys, if we take Nick Schultz and Dion Smith for example, it is a really great opportunity for them. They’ve probably never been in teams that have been riding for GC before so there’ll be some new experiences for them. Then we’ve also got the very experienced guys like Mikel and Sam Bewley, who will be our captain on the road.”
The Mitchelton-SCOTT team for the 2019 Vuelta a Espana is: