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Close opening stage sprint sees Ewan in third at the BinckBank Tour

Mon 13 Aug 2018

Australian sprinter Caleb Ewan ran a close third place for Mitchelton-SCOTT on a very wet stage one of the BinckBank Tour in the Netherlands today, starting the seven-day race with a positive performance.

A strong all-round team display in tough conditions, brought Ewan into the final in a good position going into the final kilometre and the 24-year-old bided his team before launching up the right-hand side of the finishing straight.

Ewan was carrying speed in the sprint, but it was Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step-Floors) who matched him on the right to take the win with Marcel Kittel (Team-Katusha) coming ate through the middle to take second and all three separated by only centimetres.

Decisive moments:

After starting in dry conditions out of Heerenveen in the Netherlands, it wasn’t long the clouds gathered and heavy rain started to fall. Despite the weather a six-rider breakaway formed and after 60kilometres of racing had three minutes 30seconds on a miserable peloton.

Totally flat, the parcours screamed sprint finish and with Ewan in mind Mitchelton-SCOTT sent Svein Tuft to the front with 60kilometres to go to take things in hand. Pulling trademark power turns at the head of the peloton, Tuft had the six leaders within a minute by the second finishing circuit and in sight with 20kilometres to go.

Inevitably the bunch got jumpy in the wet conditions as more teams jostled for position at the front and despite the prolonged efforts of the breakaway riders they were caught with 13kilometres remaining.

Australian Luke Durbridge had taken over from Tuft with Ewan and Roger Kluge sheltered on his wheel going into the closing kilometres and Chris Juul Jensen also up there.

The final was pockmarked with scattered crashes that disrupted the field, no doubt caused by the wet roads and increased tension. Somehow Ewan and the frontrunners managed to avoid the chaos and went into the sprint spread across the road.

In the closely fought three-way sprint that followed, Jacobsen ran out the victor and with more flat stages ahead there will be other opportunities for each of the sprinters teams.

Caleb Ewan:

“It really was a wet and horrible stage today, but despite the conditions the boys did a good job keeping me out of trouble for most of the day and positioned well in the bunch."

“The sprint was pretty hectic and after we had controlled things over the final laps the boys left me in good position coming into the last kilometre. From there I got swamped a little bit just ahead of the sprint and then waited for a gap to open and went for it. It’s a positive start and we’ve got more opportunities to come in this race.”

BinckBank Tour stage one results:

1. Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step-Floors) 04:01:00

2. Marcel Kittel (Team-Katusha) ST

3. Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST

Photos courtesy of Getty Images.

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