‘Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana stage winner Caleb Ewan has made it three in a row at the Australian Criterium Championshipsin Ballarat today, taking the victory in a bunch sprint to kick off the 2018 season in winning style.
The Mitchelton-SCOTT train bossed the front of the peloton in the final laps, streatching out the peloton as Luke Durbridge, Lucas Hamilton and Cameron Meyer each peeled off leaving Ewan withAlex Edmondson as his final lead out man up the final drag to the finish line. Dropped off in perfect position, no one could pass the pint-sized speedster as he kicked off an exciting year, which is set to include a Tour de France debut, in perfect fashion.
Five riders formed the main breakaway of the day – Mitch Docker (EF Education First – Drapac), Michael Freiberg (Bennelong SwissWellness), Neil van der Ploeg, Cameron Ivory (GPM) and Ollie Kent-Spark (Drapac EF p/b Cannondale Holistic Development Team) – but it never caused for serious alarm with the gap never exceeding 15seconds.
All day in control
Mitchelton-SCOTT controlled racing for much of the day with the full five-rider contingent present at the head of the peloton to control any escapees. It was Durbridge, Meyer and Hamilton who shouldered much of the chasing efforts whilst Edmondson stayed as fresh as possible for the lead out on the final lap.
Caleb Ewan – Gold Medal:
“There was a fair bit of pressure going into the race because I had to defend my title and also pressure on myself. I wasn’t sure how I would feel in the race because usually I have had a few race days by now so I didn’t know exactly how I was going to feel and I always want to get my season off to a good start.”
“During the race I felt quite comfortable and the boys always had it in control so that’s takes some pressure off.”
“It never gets old, I’m super happy to take the win again and the feeling is just as good as the first time. It means a lot and it’s always nice to wear the national champions kit for your country and although I don’t get to wear it much during the year, it’s still nice to have it to your name.”
“It’s one of those things I always want to tick off the list at the start of the year to build my confidence going into some of the bigger races. I think it’s a good start and I’m feeling good so I feel good about going into the next few races.”
Lucas Hamilton – debut race:
“It was a really exciting and humbling experience to put on the jersey and do my first race with the WorldTour team, especially with the quality of riders I was surrounded by in the team.
“We had to be cautious on moves to go up the road but with a guy like Caleb in your team as one of the fastest guys in the world, you have 100% confidence that he will deliver at the end. So, we tried to control the race and I think we did a really good job of that, and as we knew he would, Caleb delivered.”