WorldTeam Caleb Ewan sprints to first victory of the season
Lotto Soudal rider Caleb Ewan has won the closing stage of the UAE Tour. The 26-year-old Australian powered to his first victory of the season during a much anticipated bunch sprint in Abu Dhabi.
“We came to the UAE Tour to win a stage and today, there was only one more opportunity left. It feels great to eventually achieve that goal during this last day of racing. My last few sprints were quite average, so I felt a fair amount of pressure to perform well today”, begins Caleb Ewan.
Also in the final UAE Tour stage, the danger for possible echelons forming was always nearby. At around sixty kilometres from the line, Caleb Ewan, Tosh Van der Sande and Jasper De Buyst represented Lotto Soudal in quite a large front group, but the peloton was eventually eager to bring them back and headed for a final bunch sprint. In the run-up to the bunch kick, Ewan was brought into position by his Lotto Soudal teammates. In the end, Caleb Ewan launched his powerful sprint and took his first win of the season as he beat Sam Bennett and Phil Bauhaus, who came in second and third, respectively.
“The team went above and beyond to deliver me in a good position. I entered the final pretty fresh, which was in my opinion crucial to do a good sprint in the end. I wasn’t specifically looking for Bennett’s wheel, instead we tried to focus on ourselves and delivered the best lead-out possible. Roger Kluge maybe went a little too late as we started to get swamped. I had to jump from his wheel quite early as I saw Sam Bennett coming on the right with a fair bit of speed. Luckily, there was some room for me to go there as it was basically the only way out. Once I got past his wheel, I could launch my sprint and finish the job.”
Ewan’s first victory of the season will certainly give him confidence to start the cycling season in Europe.
“I haven’t been this far in the season without a win in my whole career, so it definitely is a bit of a relief to start the cycling season in Europe with a win under the belt. I hope this is the beginning of a great year as I have big plans for the season. So, it means a lot to start off with a win”, concludes Caleb Ewan.
Photo credit: UAE Tour // La Presse