By Brecht Decaluwé in Koksijde
In the hectic bunch sprint during the second stage of the Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde, Robbie McEwen was unable to show his speed against eventual winner Mark Cavendish. With 400 metres to go both riders were sitting relatively far back, and McEwen decided to have a go on the right side of the road, but he got boxed in.
Meanwhile Cavendish managed to sneak through on the left and powered through to the win in Koksijde near the Belgian Coast. Silence-Lotto's McEwen is still without a win in the 2008 season, but he felt Wednesday's sprint was too hectic for him. "The legs are good, but it was just ridiculous, there were guys going everywhere," said McEwen of the hectic final dash.
The Australian never managed to reach the front of the peloton for several reasons. "I didn't get up there. Someone rode into my back wheel at about a kilometre and a half to go. I lost a lot of places and couldn't come back up anymore." The fast 35 year-old tried once again, but that effort was neutralized by a move in front of him.
"There was nowhere to go. I choose one side to go, and then I got shot down," McEwen explains about his non-sprint. "I tried to get through to the right, but then everything swept across to the right and I got ridden into the barriers. You [have] got to brake then, and then it's all over. A big group came passed me on the left and that was it. It was finished and I just sat up."
Robbie McEwen was clearly disappointed that he was unable to get a real sprint going. "Such a ... it wasn't a very hard sprint. You just had to be a little lucky where you could go through, if you got through." When asked if Thursday's stage would bring him more luck, McEwen didn't know. "Maybe," and then pointed out why he came to the Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde.
"I am here to prepare for Gent-Wevelgem." The semi-classic will be held next Wednesday, and the Australian wants to add a victory there to his palmarès.