Ewan wins second Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic titleMon 5 Jan 2015
Neo-pro Caleb Ewan has won his second overall title at the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic this afternoon.
The 20-year-old became the youngest ever winner of the criterium series in 2013 and wrapped up the 2015 edition with a comfortable 17point advantage to Greg Henderson (NZ National Team) in second.
After claiming stage victories on the first three days of racing, Ewan had to settle with winning the bunch sprint for sixth position on the final day after a breakaway of five riders proved to strong to shut down on the technical Williamstown course.
Teammate Michael Hepburn, who represented the ORICA-GreenEDGE outfit in the break, went on to finish the stage in second behind a fast finishing Henderson.
“I was lucky to have such a strong team here,” Ewan said.
“It feels just as good (as his first series victory) and also to win as a pro. Coming here as a pro you have a bit more pressure on you to perform but coming here before it was a great achievement just to beat the pros.
“It would have been nice to get (the four from four stages) but at the end of the day it didn’t really matter. It was good to be able to let Heppy (Hepburn) go and race for himself instead of just riding on the front for me.”
Sport director Matt Wilson said the team had over delivered on expectations for the four-day series.
“We came into this race hoping to get a stage win and we got three and the overall win,” Wilson said. “We are really happy with the last few days of racing heading into the national championships later this week.”
The final stage’s breakaway, established early in the one-hour race, was solely driven by Henderson and German Roger Kluge (Total Rush Hyster). Despite the lack of support from their three counterparts, the pair were too strong for a chase group to bring back.
“Henderson and Kluge were really surprising,” Wilson said. “They got away at the start with Hepburn and we thought that was a pretty good situation for us.”
“We had Heppy sitting on at the front and gathered our troops at the back and started to ride. But as we rode the time was just going out and out further and our guys just couldn’t contain it.
“At that point it became a chance for Hepburn to take out the stage win. He tried to get rid of them in the last few laps but he was heavily marked and Henderson was just too quick in the finish.”
Attention now turns to the Cycling Australia Road Cycling National Championships in Ballarat from Wednesday 7 to Sunday 11 January.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF MARK GUNTER.