Third place for Ewan in a close sprint at the Tour of PolandWed 13 Jul 2016
Sprint star Caleb Ewan finished in third place again today at the Tour of Poland, after a tight sprint finish concluded proceedings for stage two.
Despite a fantastic lead out from his ORICA-BikeExchange teammates, working well together in the final 10kilometres to keep the 22-year-old in good position, it came down to a just a few centimetres separating the top three.
Fernando Gaviria (Etixx-Quickstep) managed to edge out Elia Viviani (Team Sky) and Ewan to claim the stage victory and move into the overall lead.
"We probably hit the front a little earlier than we needed to today," explained sport director Dave McPartland after the stage. "But that was our plan today, to take the race on at the front in the final kilometres and keep Caleb in good position and the boys certainly did that well."
"Luka Mezgec dropped Caleb off at the top of the climb around one kilometre to go onto the wheel of Etixx-Quickstep who still had a few riders left.
"It was the perfect position for Caleb and he had a good run at the line. It could have gone either way, it was very, very close in the end.
"The whole team were super motivated after yesterday's stage, and they really wanted to try and nail the finish today and we had another really good crack at it.
"We still have another two days where there is a possibility for a sprint, so it's certainly not over yet for Caleb."
How it happened:
After a fast and furious opening stage, the riders took to the start line ready for stage two and another potential sprint finish.
Despite constant attacks during the first hour of racing, a breakaway was unable to stick as the peloton made their way towards the five finishing circuits.
At one point a promising group of 10 riders were able to break clear. The group included Simon Yates for ORICA-BikeExchange however, like all other previous attempts the group was unable to stay away.
Yates still managed to make the most of his short strint out front, picking up maximum points in the intermediate sprint.
Once they returned, it wasn't long until after another breakaway group of five riders were given freedom and quickly established themselves with two minutes ahead of the peloton as the race entered the finishing circuit.
ORICA-BikeExchange and Lotto-Soudal began to control the pace to gradually reel in the leaders as the race completed each of the laps.
With 20kilometres to go, four of the leaders were finally swallowed up by the charge from peloton yet one rider, Marcel Aregger (IAM Cycling), was able to maintain a solo lead for a number of kilometres.
With the sprint teams aligning and preparing for a rapid bunch kick, the pace drastically increased and the peloton were finally all back together with 15kilometres remaining.
Mitch Docker, Sam Bewley and Jens Keukeleire quickly took control of the race, keeping Ewan safety tucked in the wheels as they maintained position at the head of the field throughout the final 10kilometres.
Ewan sat in a good position around third wheel during the final kilometre and as the sprint opened up it was neck and neck between Ewan, Gaviria and Viviani.
In the messy, fast sprint the race came down to just inches separating the top three places with Ewan settling for third spot as Etixx-Quickstep claimed the victory for a second consecutive day.
Tour of Poland stage two results:
1. Fernando Gaviria (Etixx-Quickstep) 3:19:30
2. Elia Viviani (Team Sky) ST
3. Caleb Ewan (ORICA-BikeExchange) ST
General Classification after stage two:
1. Fernando Gaviria (Etixx-Quickstep) 6:20:24
2. Davide Martinelli (Etixx-Quickstep) 0:06
3. Caleb Ewan (ORICA-BikeExchange) 0:08