Ewan starts well in California with second on stage oneSun 13 May 2018
Mitchelton-SCOTT came close to the perfect start on the opening stage of the Tour of California with Caleb Ewan making a positive return to racing by sprinting to second place in Long Beach.
The 13thedition of the race opened with the anticipated bunch sprint finish after 12circuits of the coastal town with the peloton holding steady behind a two-man breakaway before the bunch brought it all back together.
Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step-Floors) ran out stage winner after a hectic sprint that saw Ewan finish strongly and a close second.
A short and sweet opening stage unfolded with fast circuits around downtown Long Beach to the Southwest of Los Angeles with two riders going clear over the early kilometres to form the breakaway.
2016 Paris Roubaix champion Mathew Hayman took up control of the peloton into the last 60kilometres and started to reduce the gap to the breakaway, bringing them within one-minute 30seconds and ramping the pace up significantly.
With these circuits the eventual bunch sprint was never really in doubt and the catch was made going into the final lap as the big teams started the battle for position.
Mitchelton-SCOTT fought hard as they moved up and as the peloton sped under the flamme rouge Luka Mezgec kicked with Ewan coming off his wheel slightly behind Gaviria.
Despite gaining ground over the last 50metres the Colombian held on for the stage win with Ewan in second.
Caleb Ewan – second:
“It’s a good start to the race for us and the boys did a great job of positioning me, so I had a chance to contest the final and it ended up being very close.”
“Obviously I would have preferred to get the win but being the first race back after a lay off and two weeks at altitude up in Lake Tahoe I am quite happy.
“There was quite a bit of wind on the coast, but generally it was a pretty steady day and the guys kept me well positioned in the group. We have another a couple of opportunities for me throughout the week, but tomorrow with the climbs it will be a day for Adam Yates and we’ll be trying our best for him.”
Sport director Matt Wilson:
“We knew it was going to be fast stage today and despite a very messy final we almost achieved a perfect start. The guys did a great job to position Caleb and maintain their momentum going into the sprint.”
“Caleb has come out of big block of training and some time at altitude very well and the signs are really promising, all the guys look to be in good shape and we have a big GC day coming up tomorrow with a difficult summit finish up Gibraltar road.”
Tour of California stage one results:
1. Fernando Gvairia (Quick-Step-Floors) 03:02:23
2. Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST
3. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) ST