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Caleb Ewan (NSWIS) got the year off to a winning start at the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic.
Team Bikebug looking like real contenders for overall series honours
Young sprint sensation Caleb Ewan understands that a repeat of his results at last year's Bay Crits will be difficult to replicate. The Sydney-born 18-year-old won two stages in the four-race series and finished second overall - to eventual winner Allan Davis. This time around Ewan will join Saxo-Tinkoff's Jonathan Cantwell in the Bikebug squad for this year's Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic.
"It will be harder this year I'm sure," Ewan said.
"No 17-year-old would go down to the Bay Crits expecting to win. My goal last year was to stay in the race and not get dropped as that's what happened to me the year before, so I certainly went better than expected."
Ewan most recently won a silver medal for Australia in the under-19 road race at the UCI World Championships in Valkenburg and vented his frustration on the line. Coming into the first races of the year, it's expected he'll be vying for victory if the opportunity presents itself.
Cantwell announced he will remain with the WorldTour squad for 2013 but not before contesting the three-day series, reduced from four in the previous edition with former Rapha-Condor rider Richard Lang and upcoming track rider Jack Edwards filling the final spots on the team.
Edwards is part of the New South Wales Institute of Sport and impressed the field at the two-day NSW Grand Prix in early December at Cronulla and Wollongong. The powerful 16-year-old, who will turn 17 in the middle of 2013, may prove to be a valuable teammate at the Bay Crits.
"Since he's stepped up to Under 19's Jack has been going really well. He told me he was beating Glenn O'Shea and Archibald from New Zeland down in Tassie and they both went to the Olympics. He's big and strong and has a good kick. We'll see who's going the best after the first stage and then work for them."
"We have a pretty good team this year," said Ewan of his team which has a perfect mix of youth and experience.
Ewan will ride the Bay Crits, starting on January 1 before refocusing on his first attempt and the U23 Australian National Championships. The nimble sprinter is a good chance for the criterium title - while also looking to contest the road race in the preceding days.
"For me this year is a stepping stone to the nationals. I was too young to ride it last year, so could concentrate on the Bay Crits. Still, I'd like to win the hotdog circuit in Geelong."