|Australian sprinter Caleb Ewan has added to his stage tally at theTour Down Under, with an impressive win on stage two into Stirling today whilst teammate Daryl Impey capped off the perfect day forMitchelton-SCOTT finishing in second.
The full Mitchelton-SCOTT train could be seen near the front of the peloton in the final five kilometres with Ewan taking the victory with a clear back wheel on a stage that wasn’t expected to suit him.
Almost Déjà vu for the break
There was little resistance from the peloton as a breakaway of four went away in the opening kilometres of stage two. Yesterday’s three escapees of Will Clarke (EF Education First – Drapac), Nickolas Dlamini (Dimension Data) and Scott Bowden (UniSA) were once again out in front, this time joined by Jaime Castrillo (Movistar Team).
Castrillo showed the freshness in his legs, spending the second half of the race solo before being caught in the final 15km.
A late but confident call
Not in the favourites for the day, Mitchelton-SCOTT were spared of the workload for much of the day as other teams took responsibility. With five kilometres remaining the full team was in the perfect position towards the head of the peloton and they maintained it right to the finish.
Unsure of his ability to finish off on an uphill sprint, Ewan left his call for the final couple of hundred metres before calling Impey to launch. As Ewan came through on the far side for the victory, Impey also sprinted hard for the line – mistaking Caleb’s best young rider white jersey for that of Peter Sagan’s world championship jersey – to complete the one, two for Mitchelton-SCOTT.
First chance to retain orange
Today’s victory takes Ewan’s stage tally to seven following four wins in 2017 and two in 2016. The 23-year-old has also worn the leader’s ochre jersey in both editions following victories in the opening stages, but is yet to retain the jersey for more than day.
With tomorrow’s stage into Victor Harbor predicted to be a bunch sprint, and a stage Ewan has won before (2017), it could be the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana stage winner’s first chance to hold the lead for consecutive days.
Caleb Ewan – Stage Winner & Overall Leader:
“I am very thrilled, it is probably more exciting winning on a stage that you’re a little bit unsure about going into. It was a tricky finish because I didn’t know if I would get up there or not and I didn’t want to make the call from the bottom.”
“I just sat in there and tried to conserve as much energy as possible and I saw Daryl sitting up there nicely so I told him to go with about 300metres to go and then he got us out and then I had a clear run at the line.”
“I think this is probably my best Tour Down Under win because it was on a finish that didn’t suit me and probably suited Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) more, so to get one up on him here, on this finish, is a bonus.”
“The last few Tour Down Under’s I have had the Ochre jersey but then gone straight into a mountain stage so I haven’t had the chance to hold it for more than one-day, so this is great to try and keep it tomorrow.”
Daryl Impey – 2nd place:
“I didn’t know it Caleb was next to me, I just saw a white jersey so I thought it was Sagan, then finally once we got a bit closer I saw it was him and that we were in that position so it was really good.”
“It just shows how fresh we were at the end to go one, two. The team did a great job so we didn’t have to do too much all day and we could conserve quite a bit of energy.”
“It was nice to run second, it was unexpected and I think from that point everybody is certainly very happy, we couldn’t do much better than that.”
Matt White – Head Sport Director:
“We knew before we came here it would be a very competitive sprint field and the sprint today doesn’t particularly suit a normal sprinter and Caleb showed his condition is as good as we’ve ever seen it.”
“We saw on Sunday he was sprinting well but to do that today is a very impressive effort by him and the lead out he got by those guys, that was standard Impey and a standard team effort.”
Tour Down Under – Stage 2 Results:
1. Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 4:03:55
Tour Down Under – General Classification after stage 2:
1. Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 7:54:00