ORICA-SCOTT’s Chinese-registered UCI continental team Mitchelton-SCOTT will make their European debut at the under-23 edition of the Giro d’Italia, the Giro Ciclistico d’Italia, starting this Friday.
After a period racing with the national under-23 team, Oceania champion Lucas Hamilton, Jayco Herald Sun Tour best young rider Jai Hindley and Australian under-23 champion Sam Jenner will be joined by Harry Sweeny, Michael Storer and Robert Stannard in an all-Australian line-up for the 40th edition of the prestigious weeklong under-23 stage race.
Sport director James Victor is looking forward to officially getting underway after the successful results the group have already achieved in Europe.
“It’s perfect timing to start our journey as Mitchelton-SCOTT so we can tackle one of our biggest goals of the season with the team focused and collectively targeting some solid results,” Victor said.
“Straight off the back of highly successful Australian and Oceania summer campaign we have seen these riders achieve one-day race wins, tour stage wins, team time trial victories and a Tour of Toscana podium sweep for the Australian under-23 team.”
“This young team, with an average age of 19, continues to shine across Europe and head into the Giro Ciclistico d’Italia with impressive results under their belts and justifiably high ambitions.”
The positive sentiment was echoed by the riders with Lucas Hamilton continuing in the same vein as Victor.
“It has been a really good start to the year for the team, with everyone showing signs of strong form,” said Hamilton. “We now start racing for Mitchelton-SCOTT and the first race is the Baby Giro. This will be one of our biggest races of the year.”
“We are all looking forward to the race and I think we can go there with high ambitions. The Giro has a really decisive last day with a long climb so that will be important for the GC, but the other stages also really suit our characteristics so we are eager to rip into it.”
Fellow Australian Hindley has also enjoyed early success over recent months racing alongside Hamilton and compatriot Storer and the 21-year-old is enthused about the squad’s prospects in the prestigious race.
“I am really keen to start racing under the Mitchelton-SCOTT banner,” said Hindley. “I think the ‘Baby Giro’ will be the perfect race to showcase the team here in Europe. All the guys are in great form so we will definitely be riding for a good result on the general classification.”
Hamilton, Hindley and Storer hold the top three spots on the Oceania individual rankings and despite their clear confidence Victor has his feet on the ground with regards to the immediate challenge ahead.
“On paper the Baby Giro is really tough,” explained Victor. “The last stage to Campo Imperatore could be included in any Grand Tour and once I saw the parcours I was able to offer Jai and Lucas a structured preparation program. This will hopefully provide them with a good platform to challenge strongly for the general classification.”
“Robert Stannard has shown solid improvements in his finishing ability and with Michael Storer’s recent wins and the combination of Sam Jenner and Harry Sweeney we have a six-rider team with the strength and consistency to chase opportunities throughout the race.
“All of the guys are really excited to be in a position to challenge for results during this important week and also to be able to show their enormous gratitude to Gerry Ryan and the ORICA-SCOTT family for providing them with this fantastic opportunity.”
The Giro Ciclsitico d’Italia takes place from the 9th to the 15th of June and will cover 955kilometres over seven days of racing.
Mitchelton-SCOTT at the Giro Ciclistico d’Italia:
Lucas Hamilton (AUS, 21)
Jai Hindley (AUS, 21)
Sam Jenner (AUS, 20)
Robert Stannard (AUS, 18)
Michael Storer (AUS, 20)
Harry Sweeny (AUS, 18)
Giro Ciclistico d’Italia Friday, 9th to Thursday 15th June:
Friday, 9th June: Stage 1 – Imola to Imola (131.7km)
Saturday, 10th June: Stage 2 – Castellarano to San Valentina (145.8km)
Sunday, 11th June: Stage 3 – Bagnara di Romagna to Forli (140.5km)
Monday, 12th June: Stage 4 – Forli to Gabicce Mare (155.5km)
Tuesday, 13th June: Stage 5a – Senigallia to Osimo (87.5km)
Tuesday, 13th June: Stage 5b – Campocavallo ITT (14km)
Wednesday, 14th June: Stage 6 – Francavilla al Mare to Casalincontrada (133.2km)
Thursday, 15th June: Stage 7 – Francavilla al Mare to Campo Imperatore (148.9km)