Narrow second place for Ewan on stage two in NorwayThu 21 May 2015
Neo-pro Caleb Ewan has again sprinted to a formidable second place behind Alexander Kristoff (Team Katusha) on the second stage of the Tour of Norway this afternoon.
Ewan launched his kick from fourth wheel, falling just short of Kristoff who was dropped off for the sprint by his teammate.
“Caleb had a really really impressive sprint, that is for sure,” sport director Matt Wilson said. “He was coming at Kristoff at a rate of knots even though he started the sprint a rider behind him.”
“We had thought today would suit Caleb to go up against Kristoff more than yesterday, so we were pretty excited.
“He rode a good race all day. He did get on Kristoff’s wheel there but lost it in the last kilometre and started the sprint from a little way back.”
After the stress of the late catch of a breakaway on stage one, Wilson was pleased with the whole teams contribution to the result, including the chase efforts of Mat Hayman, Ivan Santaromita and Jens Keukeleire and placement of Ewan by Adam Blythe.
“Six man teams make life difficult when there are so few sprinters in the race,” Wilson said.
“You want to save guys for the finish but you have to burn matches just to make it a sprint so that’s a bit of a challenge.
“It meant we weren’t able to set Caleb up with a sprint train which is disappointing but our guys rode fantastically and I can’t fault them.”
How it unfolded
A head wind contributed to the peloton remaining together for the first 20km of the second stage.
As a change of direction turned it into a cross wind, the conditions were more favourable for a group of nine riders who initially escaped off the front.
That group reduced to five before it established itself completely; those making the move were Angel Madrazo (Caja Rural – Seguros RGA), Pieter Jacobs (Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise), Anders Skaarseth (Team Joker), Ole Forfang (Ringeriks-Kraft) and Bugge (Sparenbanken Sør).
Their advantage was controlled at around five minutes before ORICA-GreenEDGE, Team Katusha, MTN Qhubeka and Team Roompot Oranje Peloton began to work it back.
On the second categorised climb of the day and with less than 30km remaining, the break began to splinter under the pressure as the gap reduced to less than three minutes.
The catch was made with a little over six kilometres remaining, final attacks also shut down by ORICA-GreenEDGE and Team Katusha to force the bunch sprint finish.
Tomorrow’s third stage features the first big climb of the 2015 Tour of Norway, a category one peaking 20km from the finish line. Riders will also negotiate a category two climb on the journey from Skien to Rjukan.