Ewan third in People’s Choice Classic ahead of Tour Down UnderSun 14 Jan 2018
2017 winner Caleb Ewan has settled for third place at the People’s Choice Classic as racing kicked off for the Tour Down Under in Adelaide this evening.
The much-talked about sprint showdown lived up to its hype as teams sprawled the road in the final laps to position their respective leaders, setting up a hot battle for the week to come.
Mitchelton-SCOTT’s Ewan sprinted to third behind world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal).
An early break
Eager to get the first day of racing underway, attacks launched within the first 100metres of racing. The moves created a seven-man group, including Fumi Beppu (Trek-Segafredo), Jhonatan Restrepo (Team Katusha), Manuele Boaro (Team Bahrain Merida), Lachlan Morton (Dimension Data), Tom Bohli (BMC Racing) Zak Dempster and Tim Roe (UniSA) and they worked cohesively out the front of the bike race but never gained more than a minute’s advantage.
Sprint teams show intentions
The seven-man break looked doomed early on as one-by-one the sprint teams showed their intentions by each sending a man up the front of the bunch to contribute to the chase. Mitchelton-SCOTT were joined by Bora-Hansgrohe, Lotto-Soudal and Quickstep Floors and they left the group hanging in front before making the catch with five laps to go.
The strength of the sprint field was on show in the final laps of the People’s Choice Classic with a number of teams fighting for position for their leaders. The Mitchelton-SCOTT team was separated in the ‘washing machine’ as riders spread across the width of the road. Ewan hit the wind early as Sagan came up the middle to claim the victory.
Caleb Ewan, 3rd place:
“It was a pretty tough one, it kind of got a bit muddled up in the end and we lost Alex so we were a man down.
“I think I started my sprint a bit too early, there was a bit more of a headwind than I thought there would be and when the road started to go up I could really feel it and I couldn’t quite get on top of my bars.
“He (Sagan) looks in good form and we definitely knew he would be one to watch. They (Bora-Hansgrohe) have two cards to play here with Sam Bennett and himself, so it’s always going to be interesting to see which one will sprint.
“I feel pretty confident. I think we have a stronger sprint team here than the last few years and I am really confident in them. I had a good nationals so I’m confident in my form.
“Now I know which guys are going good and which guys to look out for.”
1. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 1:04:25
2. Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) ST
3. Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST
Riders will have a day to recover tomorrow before the official WorldTour Tour Down Under event starts on Tuesday with a lumpy 145km journey from Port Adelaide to Lyndoch.