Ewan sprints to third on the opening stage of the Tour of Poland

Tue 12 Jul 2016

22-year-old Caleb Ewan produced a strong sprint on today's opening stage of the Tour of Poland to finish in third place.

The short, fast stage concluded with a late attack by Davide Martinelli (Etixx-Quickstep) with just 600metres to go. Ewan was forced to open up his sprint early in an attempt to catch Martinelli, however the Etixx-Quickstep rider was able to hold off the charge to steal the stage one victory.

Sport director Dave McPartland praised the ORICA-BikeExchange team efforts, controlling the race well throughout the furious final circuits.

"The last three kilometres were really choppy, no team could really take control," explained McPartland. "The final six circuits were full gas all day, it was strung out and the riders said being on the front felt like the final of a race, and that was from 80kilometres to go."

"Throughout these finishing circuits we used up most of our team to keep Caleb near the front and out of trouble.

"Martinelli made a move on the uphill cobble section within the final kilometre which caused Caleb to hit out early. It was a little longer than he wanted, and that actually set up Martinelli's teammate, who came past on the line. 

"It was forecast to be bad rain all day, but it never really eventuated, and having done this stage in previous editions we knew how dangerous the circuits were so we tried to make a presence at the front, to try to take control and stay out of trouble. Svein Tuft did an awesome job riding on the front for most of the day.

"Caleb did all he could today with the final situation and tomorrow is another really good opportunity for us. The form is there, he is sprinting well."

How it happened: 

The peloton took to the start line in Radzymin for the start of the 2016 edition of the Tour de Poland. The race began proceeding with a short, fast 135kilometre stage likely to be one for the sprinters. 

It didn't take long before a group of six riders broke free and rode out to over three minutes within the first hour of racing.

Alessandro De Marchi (BMC Racing Team), Marc Fournier (FDJ), Jonas Koch (Verve Activejet), Jaroslaw Marycz (CCC Pro team), Szymon Rekita (Poland National Team) and Peter Williams (ONE Pro Cycling) maintained their lead as the race headed to the finishing town weaned on to the circuit to complete six laps of a 13.8kilometres. 

Candian Tuft put in a huge effort sitting at the head the peloton for ORICA-BikeExchange to contributing to the chase along with Etixx-Quickstep and Team Sky. This effort caused the six leader's advantage to plummet down to just one minute within 15kilometres of racing.

Tuft continued his efforts while Ewan, protected by his other teammates sat patiently in the bunch waiting for the breakaway riders to return to the bunch which eventually happened at the 22kilometre to go mark.

One of the original breakaway riders, De Marchi, attacked before the other breakaway riders were caught and continued to lead the race solo. However with the increasing chase behind it was long before he was also swallowed up. 

Two more riders tried their chances, jumping away from the peloton in closing ten kilometres, but as the team's aligned themselves ready for a bunch sprint finish the escapees returned.

The stage was all set for a bunch sprint, but a surprise attack with just 600metres to go, on the slight uphill cobbles changed the dynamic of the bunch. Martinelli was able to hang just a couple of metres ahead of the rest as the finish line drew nearer and nearer.

Ewan began his fierce sprint, launching off the wheel and into the wind in an attempt to make the catch but unfortuantely for the team, the Etixx rider just held on for the victory, finishing with the same time on the line.

ORICA-BikeExchange head into tomorrow's stage two with confidence in Ewan ahead of another potential sprint stage. 

Tour of Poland stage one results:

1. Davide Martinelle (Etixx-Quickstep) 3:01:10

2. Fernando Gaviria  (Etixx-Quickstep) ST

3. Caleb Ewan (ORICA-BikeExchange) ST


General classification after stage one:

1. Davide Martinelli (Etixx-Quickstep) 3:01:00

2. Fernando Gaviria  (Etixx-Quickstep) +0:04

3. Caleb Ewan (ORICA-BikeExchange) +0:06