Ewan goes back-to-back in Ballarat

Wed 4 Jan 2017

Reigning champion Caleb Ewan has successfully defended his Australian criterium championship with a sprint victory in Ballarat this evening. 

It was the second win in as many days for the 22-year-old from New South Wales after he, like women’s winner Jessica Allen, won the final stage of the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic in Williamstown yesterday.

With just two teammates for company this year, Mitch Docker and Damien Howson worked hard to cover the early moves but it was IsoWhey Sports SwissWellness who created the bunch sprint after putting nine riders on the front of the peloton in the closing laps. 

“Coming back to the crits in Australia I do feel a little bit of pressure because I’ve done well here in the past few years,” Ewan said. “We started with a few less guys than we would have hoped and that was always going to make the race hard, but luckily it came together in the end.”

“The race went a bit differently to the past few years but Mitch and Damo did an amazing job to keep the race together, especially against some big teams.

“In the end I got boxed off the wheel in the last corner but I didn’t panic, I knew I could do a long sprint so I started early and made my way to the front.” 

Ewan will line up in the men’s road race on Sunday. The sprinter’s previous best result on the course was second in 2015, his debut year in the elite event.

How it happened:

The men’s criterium started slowly and built towards its finale.

Solo rider Nathan Earle was the biggest animator of the race moving away solo as the peloton looked unfazed and allowed him to extend his advantage.

Eventually a spark lit in the peloton and a move of eight riders, initiated by Travis Meyer and including Docker, launched from the bunch in pursuit of Earle.

The nine riders joined together but never fully committed to making it work, with some supporting their sprint teammates behind. 

Eventually the race came back together and a host of attacking in the final lap splintered the peloton. 

A messy reduced sprint eventuated, with Ewan launching early from the bottom corner to retain his title ahead of Scott Sunderland (IsoWhey Sports SwissWellness) and Brenton Jones (JLT Condor).