Ewan comes out on top on the final stage in Abu DhabiSun 26 Feb 2017
Young sprint star Caleb Ewan has asserted himself as one of the fastest riders in the world today, winning the final stage of the Tour of Abu Dhabi ahead of well established sprinters, Mark Cavendish (Dimension-Data) and Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal).
The 22-year-old displayed his sprinting maturity, timing his effort to perfection as he launched out from behind the wheel of lead-out man Roger Kluge and to his eighth victory of the season.
After his unfortunate crash on stage one and an agonisingly close second place on stage two, Ewan was relieved to come away with the victory to finish off the tour sucessfully.
“I guess I started this race on a real low with that crash and then I finished on an absolute high,” said Ewan. “After stage two I'm really happy to repay my team with a win.”
A well executed lead-out and full team commitment from ORICA-SCOTT meant Ewan stayed out of trouble and in perfect position for the final two-laps around the Yas Marina F1 Circuit in the unusual rainy conditions.
“The team did a great job," Ewan continued. "We started working early and we knew on this course which were the important corners."
"They controlled the race from 15km out and no-one really came past us from that moment on.
“If you really want to be on top you need to beat Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors), Cavendish and Greipel and so for me beating them all here, I'm over the moon with that.”
Sport director Dave McPartland also praised the team effort and commitment to Ewan in the sprint today, acknowledging the value of having Kluge and Luka Mezgec as final lead-out riders.
“Roger and Luka are so calm and they have a really good effect on Caleb,” said McPartland. “In a final it can be so stressful so when you have guys who are so experienced and can make good decisions, then it makes the sprinter more relaxed and helps them to save energy.”
“On a wet course like today it was safer for us to be up at the front and well organised early. In the end it worked out perfectly, we were able to use up everyone in the best way and pull off this fantastic result.”
How it happened:
After pleasantly warm temperatures having raced through the desert on the previous stages, today's stage four, was a complete contrast with pouring rain and 26laps around the Yas Marina F1 circuit.
The race began like the other days with a breakaway forming in the early stages. Six-riders established a lead with the peloton mostly in one-long line behind navigating around the tight bends and wet corners.
ORICA-SCOTT placed riders at the fore to help with the steady chase and kept Ewan out of trouble.
Three of the initial escapees finally came back to the chasing peloton, leaving the other three rider dangling out front.
The race was eventually all back together with 30kilometres to go and as the final kilometres ticked down the blue and yellow train of ORICA-SCOTT emerged at the front and lead the peloton for the final few laps.
Jack Haig, Carlos Verona, Robert Power and Roman Kreuziger took on the initial work load, controlling the bunch before Alex Edmondson increased the speed leaving Mezgec and Kluge to take on the final kilometre.
The giant German Kluge provided the perfect shelter for Ewan as he jumped out from the wheel in the closing metres and onto the top step of the podium.
Tour of Abu Dhabi stage four results:
1. Caleb Ewan (ORICA-SCOTT) 3:03:06
2. Mark Cavendish (Dimension-Data) ST
3. Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) ST
Overall final classification:
1. Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) 15:42:21
2. Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha) 0:04
3. Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) 0:16
22. Roman Kreuziger (ORICA-SCOTT) 1:15
Photos courtesy of ©TDWsport.com