Ewan does it again on Santos Tour Down Under stage 1

Tue 19 Jan 2016

People’s Choice Classic winner Caleb Ewan has taken out the first stage of the 2016 Santos Tour Down Under in Lyndoch today.

Ewan outsprinted Mark Renshaw (Team Dimension Data) and Wouter Wippert (Cannondale Pro Cycling) for his seventh victory this year and second ever WorldTour win following his stage success on Grand Tour debut at the Vuelta a Espana last year.

The win also puts the 21-year-old into the Ochre leader’s jersey with finish line bonus seconds giving him a four second advantage to Renshaw.

“I was feeling good and the team showed their faith in me by riding on the front all day,” Ewan said. “It’s a really big confidence boost and that’s exactly what I need going into the season.”

“It’s a really proud moment for me, I’ve never led a WorldTour race before and to do it for the first time in my home country is a real honour for me.”

With three riders up the road for much of the day’s racing, sport director Matt White was happy for the team to ride on the front in support of the in-form sprinter.

“We obviously have a lot of responsibility with Caleb here and as our home WorldTour race but the boys did a good job controlling the stage and then looking after him in the final,” White said.

“He had Luke Durbridge, Mat Hayman and Daryl Impey in the final and the main thing was that he got a clean run to the line and he showed he is the fastest guy here.”

How it happened:

The peloton rolled out of Prospect in hot and windy conditions, kick starting the Santos Tour Down Under and UCI WorldTour for 2016.

The day’s breakaway was formed after four kilometres of racing and featured three riders – Alexis Gougeard (Ag2r La Mondiale), Martijn Keizer (Team Lotto Jumbo) and Sean Lake (UniSA Australia).

Immediately, ORICA-GreenEDGE took responsibility at the head of the peloton to keep the gap under control.

Thanks to the work of Michael Hepburn and Luke Durbridge the gap never extended beyond two minutes and with one 27km lap remaining just Gougeard and Lake remained in front with a one-minute advantage.

Lake held on the longest but was caught in the final ten kilometres as sprint trains came to the fore to set up their leaders. Team Sky hit the front in the final kilometre but Caleb, guided by his ORICA-GreenEDGE teammates, was too fast.

The Santos Tour Down Under continues tomorrow with a 132km stage from Unley to Stirling.

Later tonight, the Santos Women’s Tour wraps up with a twilight criterium in Victoria Park.

Santos Tour Down Under - Stage 1 Results:

1. Caleb Ewan (ORICA-GreenEDGE) 3:24:13
2. Mark Renshaw (Team Dimension Data) ST
3. Wouter Wippert (Cannondale Pro Cycling) ST

Santos Tour Down Under - General Classification after stage 1:

1. Caleb Ewan (ORICA-GreenEDGE) 3:24:13
2. Mark Renshaw (Team Dimension Data) +0:04
3. Alexis Gougeard (AG2R La Mondiale) +0:04