Australian sprinter Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEdge) took four stage wins on the way to winning the overall title at the Tour de Korea on Sunday, his first-ever stage race victory. The team is hoping that the 20-year-old will carry that success back to Europe this summer.
"I’ve been so impressed with the guys and how they rode. They were incredible all week and backed me 100 per cent," Ewan said in a team press release.
"There were points in the meetings where they were given the opportunity to go in breakaways but they were always so happy to commit to the sprint and help me so I can’t thank them enough."
After his stage 2 victory, Ewan trailed stage 1 winner and early race leader Wouter Wippert (Drapac) by just four seconds in the overall. It was his stage 3 victory that bumped him up into the overall lead. He took his third win on stage 5 and fourth win on stage 7, and then secured the title ahead of Patrick Bevin (Avanti Racing) and teammate Adam Blythe on the eighth stage.
Not only did Ewan finish with four stage wins and the overall title, he also won the best young rider and points competitions.
"The goal coming into the week was to get a stage win and we got four, plus the sprint, young rider and general classification,” Ewan said. “It’s been a massive bonus."
Ewan’s wins at the Tour de Korea makes his 10th of the 2015 season with Orica-GreenEdge. He opened the season with a two wins at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour, two wins at the Tour de Langkawi and win at the Vuelta a La Rioja, followed by his successes at the Tour de Korea.
"Caleb had a lot of pressure on his shoulders here," said director David McPartland. "Everyday we had a meeting it was all about trying to bring everything together for a sprint for him.
"He performed just about every time, so to be able to take that ability to perform under pressure to the next level in Europe is another great step in his development."