Mezgec fourth as late crash takes Ewan out of contest on first stage of the Tour of Slovenia

Wed 13 Jun 2018

A crash in the final kilometre has denied Australian sprinter Caleb Ewan the chance to contest the first stage of the Tour of Slovenia today. 

Sitting on the back of his Mitchelton-SCOTT sprint train, which had ridden perfectly until then, a clip of wheels saw Ewan hit the ground hard, alongside several others.

Slovenian champion Luka Mezgec, who was riding just in front as the XX-year old’s final lead out, regathered his thoughts and sprinted for a result shortly after, taking fourth place behind winner Simone Consonni (UAE Team Emirates). 

Break on a leash
Two riders were swiftly join by three chasers to form the first breakaway of the Tour of Slovenian in the opening kilometres of stage one. 

Nik Čemažar (Slovenian National Team), Benjamin Hill (Ljubljana Gusto Xaurum), Jon Božič (Adria Mobil), Juraj Bellan and Martin Haring (Dukla Banska Bystrica) managed to briefly ride out to a four-minute advantage before the sprint teams moved to the front to bring it back down and under a controllable gap of less than two-minutes.

The bunch had the quintet within sights as the rode past the 20km to go signals and swept up the final survivor with 14.5km remaining to set up the bunch finish.

Leading from the front:
As riders took a look at the final approach as they crossed the finish line with 10kilometres remaining, Mitchelton-SCOTT took the initiative and led the bunch with New Zealand’s Jack Bauer putt in a huge pull to take the team to the three kilometre to go mark.

South African champion Daryl Impey took up the reigns and teams tried to fight for Ewan’s wheel. 

A crash and recovery in the final kilometre
Shortly after Impey peeled off with two kilometres remaining, the fight for positions stepped up in intensity as rival teams tried to set up their sprinters.

Ewan’s clip of wheels took him out of the race, whilst a second crash at one-kilometre to go also unsettled what was left in the bunch.

Without his leader, Mezgec used his last remaining teammate Roger Kluge as a final lead out before launching early on the right to finish in fourth position.

Luka Mezgec - 4th on stage:
"We worked really well as a team until the 1.5km to go mark when we got squeezed onto the right and lost a bit of position.

"Under the one-kilometre to go banner I heard a crash behind me and I saw Caleb was not there so I waited on position until 500m to go in case he had somehow avoided the crash and could come back. When he wasn't there I tried for the sprint with what was left in my legs for fourth."

Caleb Ewan:
"We had a good lead out on the circuits and then in the last coupel of kilometres we got swamped a little bit and it became really messy.

"I clipped the wheel in front of me, I'm not sure exactly what happened but I went down. Other than the crash, I'm all good, I don't think I have done any damage, I felt good today so we will have a go again tomorrow."

Tour of Slovenia – Stage 1 Results:
1. Simone Consonni (UAE Team Emirates) 3:32:05
2. Matteo Pelucchi (Bora Hansgrohe) ST
3. Niccolo Bonifazio (Bahrain-Merida) ST
4. Luka Mezgec (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST

Tour of Slovenia – General Classification after stage 1:
1. Simone Consonni (UAE Team Emirates)