Caleb Ewan will get his first start at the Tour de France when he lines up for Lotto Soudal on 6th July. The pocket rocket from across the ditch will feature as part of a team devoted to stage victories over the three weeks of racing.
After impressing in the Giro d’Italia with two stage wins, Caleb Ewan will finally get to line up for the biggest race in professional cycling. The 24 year old has patiently waited for his opportunity, and will have plenty of chances to build on his six wins in 2019. His form is strong too. After winning two stages of the Giro d’Italia, Ewan followed many of the Giro’s sprinters in stopping early to concentrate on his later-season goals which evidently have included the Tour.
He returned to racing at the ZLM Tour, generally considered a hotbed for sprinters in the run up to the big lap of France, where he placed third and second in stages 2 & 3, before winning the final sprint in Tilburg.
Sports manager Marc Sergeant said, “Caleb Ewan will be at the start of the Tour for the first time in his career, but he will put the necessary pressure on himself. With already three stage wins in the Giro and one in the Vuelta, I think the ambition to also win a Tour stage, will come automatically. During the sprint preparation, Caleb will be perfectly supported by amongst others Jasper De Buyst and Roger Kluge but by the other Lotto Soudal riders as well.”
Aside from the obvious potential of Ewan, the team will have a range of options on the more severe terrain. Thomas De Gendt is selected and so too are Tiesj Benoot and Tim Wellens, three riders who on their day could quite capably poach a mountain stage . . . or two. Sergeant is cautious to put his ambitions up too high regarding stage count ambitions, but he’s made it clear that their goal will be one win early on and from there . . . . who knows?
“Let us begin to say that it is our ambition to win one stage. However, my experience has taught me that once the first stage victory arrives, a second one follows a bit easier. So, the faster we could win a first one, the better for us. The opening stage immediately is an opportunity to do so and we will try to use it. And if not, we will shift focus towards the following stages.”
The Lotto Soudal line up for the Tour de France is:
Jasper De Buyst
Thomas De Gendt