Robbie McEwen was happy with his performance after finishing second in Scheldeprijs on Wednesday. The Katusha sprinter, who has lived in Belgium for over a decade, has made the race one of his regular stomping grounds during his career. The 37-year-old won in 2002, and has finished on the podium five times. However, last year he crashed out of the race in another sprint finish.
Today he was forced to settle for second place for the third time. "It's still a really good performance," he told Cyclingnews at the finish.
McEwen had ridden the perfect race coming into the final few kilometres, staying well hidden in the bunch, protected by a curtain of Katusha riders. Pippo Pozzato, Nikolay Trusov and Stijn Vandenbergh led him through into the final kilometre, but the Australian found himself too far back with 500 meters to go and was forced to use vital energy as he tried to correct his position within the rushing peloton.
"It was a very fast last lap with all the teams trying to take control, but nobody really had control until (Tom) Boonen pulled the sprint for (Wouter) Weylandt. (Tyler) Farrar was in Weylandt's wheel and placed himself. I had to make a big effort from 500 to 300m to try and get into Farrar's wheel and spent a lot of energy in the sprint, and I just couldn't do any more."
McEwen has had a number of podium places this year. He won a stage in the Trofeo Mallorca in February and finished second and third in stages of the Tour Down Under.
"This is the third time I've been second, but perhaps like Tyler, I'm a bit tired after Flanders, but I guess overall, I'm happy."
McEwen will ride this year's Giro d'Italia, where he will once again compete in the sprint finishes.