Tom Scully will be the third and final Kiwi lining up for the Tour de France. Scully, riding for EF Education First, is part of a bit of a mysterious team who are playing their hand close to their chest with regards goals for the three weeks.
“Our specific ambitions we will leave to ourselves. As giving it away wouldn’t be any fun,” and with that CEO Jonathan Vaughters has announced the list of eight riders taking to the start line for EF Education First on Saturday in Brussels for the 2019 Tour de France. There’s definitely potential for multiple goals to be pursued by the team with GC opportunities coupled with potential breakaway candidates; of which Tom Scully is certainly one.
Last year, in his debut Tour de France, Scully enjoyed a day out in the breakaway in stage 13, in a 2018 season that also included a first start at the Giro d’Italia. His team were hampered by misfortune to their GC candidate Rigoberto Uran who pulled out after stage 11, but the Colombian comes to the Tour in good form after placing third in his recent outing at La Route d’Occitanie-La Dépêche du Midi.
Scully’s season has been a strong one, particularly against the clock. At the recent Tour de Romandie he finished 10th in the opening time trial and 4th in stage 8’s longer one; beating none other than CCC’s Patrick Bevin. He was also 8th in the Paris-Nice time trial. His development of his time trialling ability will be essential to the team in stage 2, where EF Education First will be hoping to better their sixth place in last year’s Tour team time trial if they end up pursuing GC success.
GC-focussed or not, Rigoberto Uran is excited about the route that the race will tackle this year. The big mountain stages start with a monstrous stage 6 culminating on La Planche des Belles Filles and from there big mountain stages in stages 12, 14, 15, 19 and 20 provide an abundance of opportunities for the climbers.
If Uran is not the focus Michael Woods could well be instead. Besides the Critérium du Dauphiné Woods has finished in the top ten in every stage race he’s started this season and has a stage win at the Herald Sun Tour to his name. He has finished 7th in the Vuelta a Espana in the past, but has yet to prove himself on the Tour scene where this year he will finally get a first start at the age of 32.
Speaking of the EF Education First team for the Tour de France, Tom Scully said, “The group has been coming together really well. Our build-up has been low on stress and high on motivation. Within the team, we’re all satisfied and happy with how we’re progressing on the bike, and that attitude has created a real relaxed and light-hearted environment.”
The EF Education First team for the 2019 Tour de France is:
Tejay van Garderen