Fifth for Ewan in the Towards Zero Race Melbourne criteriumThu 25 Jan 2018
Australian criterium champion Caleb Ewan sprinted to fifth place today for Mitchetlon-SCOTT at the Towards Zero Race Melbourne criterium in Albert Park F1 track.
It was Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) who claimed a consecutive victory in the event with the Tour Down Under stage winner, Ewan, having to settle for fifth in the long sprint to the line.
After an active start with multiple attacks and two crashes, seven riders finally established a gap after five laps of racing.
George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo), Peter Konging (Aqua Blue), Chad Hager (Team Sunweb), Owen Doull (Team Sky), Jose Goncalves (Katusha-Alpecin), David Earl (Cycling Academy) and a UniSa rider quickly opened up a 45second advantage as Mitchelton-SCOTT headed to the front of the peloton to control the pace.
Sharing the work
As the laps ticked down Quickstep-Floors joined in, sharing the work load, as the gap hovered around one-minute for the majority of the 116km event.
Under 23 Australian champion, neo-pro Lucas Hamilton, did his fair share for the team, spending over 12 laps setting the pace at the front with his new teammates lined out behind conserving energy for the final.
A late catch
Despite the fierce pace in the peloton in the final laps, the seven-rider breakaway fought hard to keep their lead over the bunch after spending most of the race out front. Slowly riders began to drop off the pace coming into the final 10kilometres and as they race entered the final lap four riders still remained out front.
This put the pressure on the sprint teams and the catch of the remaining two leaders was only made with three kilometres to go.
Caleb Ewan - Fifth place
“Because we hadn’t caught the break in the final lap we had to use each lead-out rider like one guy early. We had to go full gas on the last lap with guys that we wanted to keep fresher for later, just to catch the breakaway.”
“With one and a half kilometres we were just three guys left, so we were probably up there a little bit too early. In hindsight I should have just dropped back and sat in the bunch a little bit, in the end we were probably there just 100metres too early.”
“The guys were all going really well, Daryl Impey and Alex Edmondson got me to like 350metres to go but it was probably just that bit too early.”
“When you have one of the fastest guys in the team, having recently won a stage of the Tour Down Under, Caleb Ewan, we had a lot of confidence in him so we wanted to make sure it came down to a sprint today.”
“It was actually quite windy and a little bit dangerous today on the back straight so we kept up at the front and Lucas did a great job pulling on the front pretty much all by himself today.”
“The breakaway was riding strongly still with one lap to go so Jack Bauer and I had to go a bit earlier than planned which has a knock on effect and it is a long finishing straight, and maybe we miss judged that a bit.”
Towards Zero Race Melbourne results:
1. Sam Bennett ((Bora-Hansgrohe) 2:29:08
2. Elia Viviani (Team Sky) ST
3. Steele von Hoff (UniSA) ST
5. Caleb Ewan (Mitchetlon-SCOTT) ST
Photos courtesy of Getty Images