Ewan bruised from training crash but gunning to defend Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic title
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Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Ewan bruised from training crash but gunning to defend Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic title

by VeloNation Press at 7:20 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Talented 19 year old working towards Santos Tour Down Under and later debut with Orica GreenEdge

Michelton Bay ClassicLast year’s defending champion and one of the top young sprinting prospects in the sport, Caleb Ewan, will line out Thursday in Australia gunning to repeat his victory in the 2014 Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic.

The nineteen year old has been compared to former top Aussie sprinters such as Robbie McEwen, based mainly on the stunning results he has clocked up at a very young age, and will this season make his pro debut with the Orica GreenEdge team.

He was runner-up in the 2012 junior world championship and, in September, finished fourth in his first year in the world under 23 event.

His first year in the espoir ranks also saw him take eight victories in Europe, with two of those coming in one of the top under 23 events, the Internationale Thüringen-Rundfahrt.

“Going into the year as my first in the under 23’s I didn’t really expect that much,” he said. “But all of the results I got really did exceed my expectations.”

In Australia, he got the year off to a perfect start with a win on stage one of the Mitchelton Bay Classic plus the final overall series. He said that got his morale to a good level prior to heading abroad.

“The victory was more of a confidence boost in that you get to race with some of the best guys in the world,” he said. “So when I went over to Europe, I think it was a really good knowing that when it comes down to a sprint I can be up there with the pros. So in the under 23 level I should be up there as well.”

He’s heading into year two as an under 23, but has already secured a WorldTour contract; it means he is far ahead of schedule for a rider of his age. He inked a deal with the Orica GreenEdge team, which will kick in later this year.

Much earlier than that, he hopes to repeat his success in the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic. Race one takes place Thursday at Geelong’s Eastern Beach, and he will do what he can to take another win. However he admits he’s not sure of his chances due to a spill. “I was rating them [the prospects for another win] pretty well a few days ago but then I crashed so I am a bit battered,” he said. “No bad injuries, just some skin off with the worst part a chunk out of my hand.”

Looking further ahead, he will likely ride the Santos Tour Down Under later this month as part of the Uni SA-Australia national squad. That will give him a chance to show his speed against some of the world’s top sprinters, including multiple Tour de France stage winner Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol).

“It’s really exciting to hopefully do Tour Down Under,” he said, then laid out the rest of his schedule. “All the under 23 races at the start of the year, hopefully Commonwealth Games and [then] go onto the pro ranks and race with them at the end of the year.”

In the Michelton races, he will compete for the Subaru NSWIS team. Also taking part in those colours will be his 2013 teammate Jack Edwards plus Aaron Donnelly, a stage winner in the 2013 Jayco Herald Sun Tour.

They will be up a strong opposition, including Orica GreenEdge riders such as Leigh Howard, 2011 Milan-San Remo winner Matthew Goss, Michael Hepburn and 2013 Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic stage winner Luke Durbridge.

Others to watch will be Garmin-Sharp sprinter Steele Von Hoff, who will guest with team Procon Telematics' Cycle Racing, and former Orica GreenEDGE rider Allan Davis, riding for Chain Reaction.

The strong women’s lineup includes former world champion Giorgia Bronzini plus her Wiggle Honda team-mates Charlotte Becker, Emilia Fahlin and Linda Villumsen.

The seventy-strong women’s team will also include Orica AIS riders Annette Edmondson, Amanda Spratt and Valentina Scandolara, Vanderkitten’s Sophie Williamson, Kate Chilcott and Jeannie Kuhajek.


2014 Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic

Thursday, 2 January, stage 1: Ritchie Boulevard, Geelong Eastern Beach
Friday, 3 January, stage 2: Eastern Park, Geelong
Saturday, 4 January, stage 3: Portarlington
Sunday, 5 January, stage 4: Williamstown

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