Ian Chadband / AAP News
The Glasgow 2014 Team Member has taken out the opening stage of the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var.
Glasgow 2014 Team Member Caleb Ewan has again demonstrated his sizzling early-season form with a consummate win on the opening stage of the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var.
The Australian, who may well currently be the fastest man in world cycling, was delivered perfectly by Lotto Soudal’s sprint train in the tough, technical denouement before powering away for his second triumph of the year.
Well beaten by Ewan in Friday’s opener were runner-up Anthony Turgis (TotalEnergies) and his French compatriot Nacer Bouhanni (Arkea-Samsic) as the Aussie enjoyed the overall lead of the three-day stage race in southern France.
The win was a pleasant surprise for the Sydney sprinter, who didn’t know whether he’d be able to stay in touch with the leaders over the testing Cote du Mai climb 12 kilometres from the finish of the 176.3km slog from Saint-Raphael to La Seyne-sur-Mer.
But once the strung-out peloton didn’t split up, there never looked likely to be any other result than Ewan adding to the stage win he’d earned on the Saudi Tour at the start of the month.
“We knew this stage was going to be a tough one and even for me, it was a bit of a mystery whether I would survive the climb or not,” reflected Ewan, who was left celebrating the 54th win of his career.
“But I felt really good today and the team just did a great job. They controlled the race and protected me perfectly leading into and on the climb.
“Due to the steady pace, the attacks didn’t go far and going into the descent with around five of my teammates gave me that extra boost to finish it off.”
The 27-year-old reckons that he’s already been rewarded for his hard work over the off-season.
“I’ve already shown this season that I got stronger uphill and that I am still developing as a rider,” he said.
“I am really happy with the shape I am in. It really was a successful test for what’s to come.”
Over the weekend and the remaining two mountainous stages, there’s no chance of Ewan holding on to yellow and his climbing legs will be tested further as he’ll work instead for Lotto Soudal’s potential race winner, Belgian Tim Wellens.
“We have a very strong team for this race. Tim targets a nice spot on GC so now it’s my turn to help my teammates,” said Ewan.
“He already did an impressive lead-out today, so he is clearly in great shape.”
Ewan recently said that he could put his hand up for Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games selection, following a focus on the home world road championships.
The 27-year-old sprint ace would be one of the biggest names at the September 18-25 worlds in Wollongong, New South Wales.
It is not far from Moss Vale, southwest of Sydney, where he grew up and developed his love of cycling.
The elite men’s road race at the Wollongong worlds is a massive goal for Ewan, but he has made no secret of his disappointment at what is known about the course.
EWAN TARGETS HOME WORLD ROAD CHAMPIONSHIPS WITH EYES ON BIRMINGHAM
Australian cycling star Caleb Ewan has plans for a big 2022 season including a possible Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games campaign following the world road championships in Wollongong.LEARN MORE