Ewan wins in Lyndoch to take Tour Down Under lead

Tue 17 Jan 2017

People’s Choice Classic winner Caleb Ewan has backed up his performance of two days ago to take out the opening stage and the first leader’s jersey of the Tour Down Under for ORICA-SCOTT in Lyndoch.

Race organisers decided to shorten the day’s racing from 145km to 118km, as scorching conditions saw the temperature hit 40 degrees.

In what was a close finish, the 22-year-old just got the better of Danny Van Poppel (SKY) and Sam Bennett (BOR) having once again been dropped off by new teammate Roger Kluge.

Ewan, who won the same stage in 2016, was pleased to come away with the victory after a tough day on the bike and a messy bunch sprint.

“It was really stinking hot out there today,” Ewan said at the finish line. “I think everyone felt the heat and it was probably a good idea for organisers to shorten it a little bit.

“I’m super happy to get the win, it was a really close one in the end. A lot of guys ran out of lead out men in that last straight because there was a bit of head wind.

“There was a lot of pressure coming back here with the same finish as last year. I felt the pressure to do the same thing and win. It’s a relief and it’s a great start to the week. It’ll put the whole team on a high and hopefully we can do something like last year.”

Throughout the day, teammate and four-time winner Simon Gerrans picked up two bonus seconds at the intermediate sprints in support of the general classification ambitions of the team.

“We said that if there was only one or two guys going up the road that we would try to get the one or two seconds,” Ewan said.

“If we look back at recent years, it’s always come down to a couple of seconds so all of those bonus seconds are really crucial in the end.”

How it happened:

The peloton left Unley for the opening day of the Tour Down Under in scorching conditions.

Lauren De Vresse (Astana Pro Team) was the only rider brave enough to launch off the front which formed a situation comfortable enough for the peloton to relax the pace.

Race organisers made the call to reduce the stage, a decision well supported in the peloton.

ORICA-SCOTT patrolled the bunch, mostly thanks to the work of Damien Howson, leaving De Vresse out in the heat for the majority of the race.

A couple of late counter attacks were unsuccessful before the race came back together in the final five kilometres for the bunch sprint.

Tour Down Under - Stage 1 Results

1. Caleb Ewan (ORICA-SCOTT) 3:24:18
2. Danny Von Poppel (Team Sky) ST
3. Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) ST

Tour Down Under - Stage 1 General Classification

1. Caleb Ewan (ORICA-SCOTT) 3:24:18
2. Danny Von Poppel (Team Sky) 0:04
3. Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) 0:06

Photo: ©