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by Shane Stokes
January 4, 2018
Caleb Ewan wins his third-straight Australian criterium title; Rebecca Wiasak wins 2018 Australian women’s criterium title; Australian road race championships to be shortened; EF Education First begins season with ‘obvious areas of excitement’; Buchanan recovering from fractures after vehicle accident; Memorial ride on Thursday for Jason Lowndes; Video: Peter Sagan – Cycling Motivation: Ready for 2018; Video: Passo del Mortirolo (Mazzo) – Cycling Inspiration & Education
The former Cannondale-Drapac team, which is rebranded EF Education First – Drapac in 2018 – is about to get its season underway with new rider Mitch Docker in the Australian championships. CEO Jonathan Vaughters has spoken with optimism about what lies ahead, with Sep Vanmarcke and Tour de France runner-up Rigoberto Uran two of the focal points.
“Those are the obvious areas of excitement,” said Vaughters. “Sep wasn’t healthy last year, and I’m eager to see what he can do at full strength in the spring. Rigo is uniquely suited to this Tour. It’s a dynamic parcours with so many different elements. Rigo is an adaptable, Darwinian rider, and we hope he can be very competitive.
“There’s something new for us in Dan McLay and Sacha Modolo and the support crew we’ve built up around them,” he continued. “For the first time, in a long time, we’ll be competitive in the sprints. I’m excited about that. Then there’s seeing what Mike Woods can do at the Giro. Those are the four things I’m most looking forward to with this group of riders.”
The team will comprise 25 riders in 2018, with 15 of those staying on from last year and ten new competitors coming on board. “This is a totally different team but with the same anchor points,” said Vaughters. “It’s a very different team than the one we had last season. It will be a different look and feel in many ways given the turnover we had with our sponsorship situation. We’re lucky that most of our staff stuck with us, which will provide a lot of stability.”
The team is smaller than previous years; Vaughters explained the reason behind that. “Grand Tours are only eight riders and other races are only seven, so we reduced our roster size accordingly,” he said. “It’s nothing other than that.”