Two Tour de France stage wins will have to serve as Simon Yates’ 2019 Grand Tour high mark, as Mitchelton-Scott’s Brit won’t be defending his Vuelta a España title starting August 24 in Salinas de Torrevieja. Instead, Mitchelton-Scott’s protected rider will be Esteban Chaves.

Yates’ bid to win May’s Giro d’Italia after the “unfinished business” of the 2018 edition, where he led until an implosion on Stage 19, couldn’t find any purchase. He followed his eighth place in Italy with a supportive role for his twin Adam at the Tour de France. Neither Yates could place inside the top-28 but Simon powered to two stage victories.

Chaves also took a win at the Tour de France, as the Colombian completed his comeback from the mononucleosis that ended his 2018 campaign in June. Ever since his fantastic 2016 when he was runner-up in the Giro and third in the Vuelta, Chaves hasn’t made the top-10 in four Grand Tours.

Simon Yates and Esteban Chaves were on top of the world after Stage 6 of last season’s Giro. Then it all went wrong.

At least one of Chaves’ rivals will come from Jumbo-Visma, as Steven Kruijswijk and Primoz Roglic, who both podiumed in Grand Tours this season, will be part of their squad’s team time trial line up in Salinas de Torrevieja. Movistar is probably going to send Giro champ Richard Carapaz, currently in contention for the Vuelta a Burgos title, 2009 winner Alejandro Valverde and 2016 titlist Nairo Quintana, who was eighth in the Tour de France.

Sunweb announced its lineup and Wilco Kelderman, fourth in 2017, will do the GC heavy-lifting. Kelderman was in 59th place at the Tour de France when he didn’t start Stage 16 due to back problems.

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