Ewan narrow second after a confident move into final corner of the first stage in Poland

Sun 2 Aug 2015

21-year-old neo-pro Caleb Ewan has finished a narrow second place to Marcel Kittel (Giant-Alpecin) on the opening stage of the Tour de Pologne in Warszawa.

Ewan, supported all day and particularly in the final ten kilometres by his ORICA-GreenEDGE teammates, hit the front from Kittel’s wheel around the final bend before the German recovered to win by half a wheel.

“Everyone knew that the first one through that final corner was most likely going to win,” sport director Matt Wilson said. “In the end it didn’t quite work out that way, but unfortunately there is probably only one guy in the world that could pass him at that point in time and that was Kittel.”

“He was maybe a little bit over-geared coming over out of the corner and lost a little bit of momentum taking a different line and that cost him, but you can’t fault his commitment or attempt.

“On a circuit like that, with a tricky last kilometre and a half, it was definitely not a straight forward lead out but everyone got up there and did their job to give him the best chance.”

How it unfolded:

The 2015 Tour de Pologne kicked off with a circuit style stage one course in Warszawa.

Riders took on ten laps of a 12.2km course, void of any serious climbs and looking like producing an opening bunch sprint opportunity.

Three riders – Matej Mohoric (Cannondale-Garmin), Adrian Kurek (CCC Sprandi Polkowice) and Pawel Bernas (Poland) – enjoyed some time at the head of racing but never established much more than three minutes advantage.

As the race entered its second half, the trio was left hanging out in front with a one-minute advantage – completely at the mercy of the peloton.

Eventually they were contained in the last 15kilometres and a subsequent two-rider counter attack was also shut down.

ORICA-GreenEDGE hit the front early with Simon Clarke and Mathew Hayman riding ahead of Caleb Ewan. Damien Howson also got to the front to do a turn for the Australian outfit before Hayman released Ewan in the front five wheels with a couple of kilometres to go.

Finding each other a little further back Brett Lancaster and Mitch Docker came through with 1.2kilometres to go to pick up the final lead out responsibilities.

As Docker peeled off, Ewan sat on Marcel Kittel’s wheel before making a confident move to come out of the last corner wide, but in front. Kittel recovered on the inside to win by half a wheel on the line.