Yates gets backing for Tour, Ewan left out

Roger Vaughan and Ian Parker
Caleb Ewan has been left off Australian cycling squad Mitchelton-Scott's Tour de France line-up

Australian team Mitchelton-Scott have dropped a Tour de France selection bombshell, denying young sprint ace Caleb Ewan his race debut.

There was already heightening speculation about Ewan's future beyond this season, which is a contract year for him, and after the shock call he looks certain to find a new team.

There will be no shortage of potential suitors and the 23-year-old, one of Australian cycling's hottest young talents, is being linked to Lotto-Soudal.

Mitchelton-Scott had announced last December that Ewan would make his Tour debut this July but instead they have gone all-in with a general classification team that backs English contender Adam Yates.

"Devastated is an understatement of how I feel about @MitcheltonSCOTT's decision to leave me at home this July," Ewan posted on Twitter.

"I was on track to being more than ready for my TDF debut.

"So much hard work has gone into this from my sprint team and I to be ready for our big goal this year."

Ewan was told of the decision earlier on Thursday (AEST) and his manager Jason Bakker said it hit the rider hard.

"The most disappointing part is just the process of getting to the decision - it was set as a team goal, it was set earlier in the year," Bakker told AAP.

"Caleb probably doesn't see the way forward right now but he will return. He's made of the right stuff."

Bakker was cautious when asked about the ramifications of the non-selection, given Ewan will come out of contract at the end of the season.

"I don't think it changes anything immediately," he said.

"The important thing is to make sure that emotions are not in haste or emotion.

"The team is entitled to make their decision, it's their prerogative."

Rather than split the team between backing Yates for the overall and supporting Ewan for wins in the sprint stages, Mitchelton-Scott have gone all-in for the GC.

The team started out as a sprint or all-rounder lineup six years ago in the Grand Tours but now has riders such as Yates and his twin brother Simon who are overall contenders.

It also did not help Ewan's cause that he only has two individual wins this year and none since February, although he finished an impressive second in March at the Milan-Sanremo classic.

Bakker stressed that whatever Ewan's emotions, the Tour lineup has his full support.

"He wishes his teammates all the best," Bakker said.

Adam Yates finished fourth overall and won the best young rider category at the 2016 Tour de France.

His brother Simon led last month's Giro d'Italia for 13 days and won three stages before cracking, with fellow British rider Chris Froome taking the title.

The Tour team features Australians Damien Howson, Luke Durbridge, Mathew Hayman and Michael Hepburn.

"There have been some really tough decisions made this week, the toughest in our organisation's history," sports director Matt White said.