Ewan goes back-to-back in Geelong

Sat 2 Jan 2016

Stage one winner Caleb Ewan has produced back-to-back victories at the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic in Geelong following another tactically sound race by ORICA-GreenEDGE.

The result mirrors the 21-year-old’s efforts in 2015 and elevates him to the clear second highest stage winner at the ‘Bay Crits’ with a total of nine stage wins over the past five years. Australian sprint legend Robbie McEwen remains the highest with an impressive 17 victories over ten editions.

Ewan’s second win for the year came from another bunch sprint after his ORICA-GreenEDGE teammates closed a dangerous breakaway covered by debutant Alexander Edmondson.

“The team again rode so well,” Ewan said. “It was handy having Alex up in the breakaway.”

“I think he was just sitting on making sure it wasn't getting get too far ahead and then the boys behind did a great job to chase as well.

“We rode it perfectly and I think everyone was pretty tired towards the end so that made the sprint a lot easier for me.”

Leaving the final chase until the closing stages of the one-hour race made for a frantic final lap.

“There was people going everywhere because teams were running out of guys so there wasn’t much organisation in the last lap,” the two-time overall champion said. “I had Alex Edmondson with me the whole last lap and he guided me perfectly and put me in good position into the last corner.”

Despite losing powerhouse Luke Durbridge early due to a mechanical, sport director Matt Wilson said the team stuck well to the plan.

“Losing Durbo took the edge off our game plan but Alex was really attentive to cover that move,” Wilson said. “If we didn’t get the break back, I was pretty sure that Alex was still going to win but it worked out perfectly.”

“In the final Caleb was just too strong again. He is certainly showing some great early season form.”

Back-to-back victories gives Ewan a four-point lead over Brenton Jones (Drapac Professional) who took out second place and a 12point lead over Luke Parker (State of Matter/MAAP) in third.

How it happened:

There was no settling into the second day of racing at the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic as a series of solo attempts kept the peloton honest.

After 37minutes of racing a dangerous move of nine riders escaped, ORICA-GreenEDGE represented by Edmondson in his first hit out for the outfit.

A split in the break saw three riders – Pat Shaw (Avanti IsoWhey Sports), Pat Lane (Avanti IsoWhey Sports) and Nathan Haas (VTWO) – with a narrow lead from their previous companions.

Recognising the danger of Shaw in the general classification, Edmondson bridged solo as the peloton swallowed up those left in between.

“Having Alex in the front took a lot of pressure off us,” Ewan explained. “We didn’t want it to get too far because Pat Shaw was there and obviously he is pretty high up on GC so we knew we had to bring it back.”

In the closing laps ORICA-GreenEDGE worked solidly on the front, with contribution from Drapac Professional, and the speed demolished the breaks lead and diminished the size of the peloton from the pressure.

“The later we left it, the harder we had to ride in the end which works in our favour,” Ewan said.

Tomorrow’s penultimate day of racing at the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic moves to Portarlington for a challenging 1.3km circuit.