Ewan gets ORICA-GreenEDGE's 2015 off to winning start at Bay CritsFri 2 Jan 2015
20-year-old sprinter Caleb Ewan has kicked off ORICA-GreenEDGE’s 2015 season in perfect style taking out the first criterium of the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic in Geelong this evening.
Ewan followed a bold winning move by New Zealand National Team’s Greg Henderson, a rider 18 years his senior, after the halfway mark of the one-hour criterium.
“I just got in the right move,” Ewan said. “(Henderson) has done that before here, raced like that and won, so I knew when he went that it could be the race so I had to jump on it straight away.”
Such was the dominance of Ewan and Henderson, the field was all but lapped and as a result battled it out for third position three laps prior to the official finish.
“I was glad the peloton were pulled out early,” Ewan continued. “I didn’t want to get involved with them because it upsets everything and I don’t think that would be fair for either of us.”
“I thought (Henderson) was going to sit of my for the full last lap but he came through and wanted to lead it out and that worked perfectly for me.“
The ‘Bay Crits’ mark the start of Ewan’s first full season with ORICA-GreenEDGE, stepping up to a full time position from stagiaire (trainee) in October last year.
“It felt so good,” Ewan said. “There is a lot of pressure on me coming back to these crits and it’s always a lot of pressure lifted off my shoulders when I win here.”
Sport director Matt Wilson was thrilled with the win, despite some early concerns with his young stars move.
“Unbelievable,” Wilson said. “We came here with just three guys, with the thought to target other stages more specifically, but Caleb surprised everyone.”
“I thought (the Ewan move) was a bit too soon being one of the fastest guys in the field,” he admitted. “But clearly he felt strong and he was actually covering Henderson which was a good move.”
ORICA-GreenEDGE, courtesy of Australian time trial champion Michael Hepburn, kept the pace hot at the front for the first half of the race, enough to reduce the field from 80 riders to just 19 finishers.
“Hepburn really showed his form coming up to the time trial national championships next week,” Wilson said.
The Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic will remain in Geelong for day two, shifting just up the road to Eastern Park. A two-kilometre circuit of the Gardens with a long straight to the finish will meet the riders in a day likely to suit to the roadies.
PHOTO COURTESY OF MARK GUNTER.