Great start has Aussie team dreaming big

Simon Yates wore the leaders’ jersey in the Paris-Nice race.
Simon Yates wore the leaders’ jersey in the Paris-Nice race.

THEY are the No. 1 cycling team in the world with the No. 1 rider in the world, but Mitchelton-Scott doesn't see why their run has to stop now.

The Australian WorldTour team is on their best run atop the sport's ranking system since they was born Orica-GreenEDGE in 2011; riding the wave of Daryl Impey's Tour Down Under win and stage victories for Simon and Adam Yates at Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico, respectively.

Director Matt White said the development of the Yates twins and Jack Haig, Esteban Chaves' return to form and fitness and the recruitment of Mikel Nieve and Matteo Trentin had laid the platform for a sustained assault on the 2018 calendar.

"The roster we've got this year, it's the most depth we've ever had," White said.

Daryl Impey won this year’s Tour Down Under.
Daryl Impey won this year’s Tour Down Under.

"I'm not so surprised we've continued this run and I'm very confident that we're going to get some big results right throughout the year.

"We had a massive 2016 and it was probably a little bit unexpected. Last year, while we had a solid year, we missed a few targets.

"This year the guys have been really focused through the European winter and Aussie summer and it's just that natural progression. We've been laying this platform for a long time."

An overall win at a Grand Tour - Giro d'Italia, Tour de France or the Vuelta a Espana - and a victory at Tour of Flanders remain the final frontiers for a team that's punched above their weight for their first seven years.

Daryl Impey. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Peled
Daryl Impey. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Peled

"Out of the monuments, Flanders we haven't won and we've got a roster where we're going to be very competitive this year. That is the last box we've got to tick off in the one-day sense," White said.

"Winning a Grand Tour is not easy. There's a lot of teams out there who've never won one and who will probably never win one. We're lucky we've got a very versatile roster that means we can target those one-day races and the Grand Tours."

The team's attention now turns to Saturday's 298km Milan-San Remo, with Aussie sprinter Caleb Ewan looking to improve on last year's 10th place finish.

Topics:  caleb ewan cycling giro ditalia mitchelton-scott tour de france

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