Tour of Turkey: Confidence boosting second place for Ewan behind Cavendish

Australian not daunted by sprinting against Manx Missile

Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEdge) admitted to being a little starstruck by lining up against one of his sprint idols on the first stage of the Tour of Turkey in Alanya on Sunday.

The 20-year-old had never raced against Mark Cavendish (Etixx-QuickStep) before and came half a bike length away from beating him to the line in the bunch sprint finish.

"It feels a little bit surreal," said the Australian, who has won two stages of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour and of the Tour de Langkawi already this year. It's kind of weird racing him I guess, always watching him growing up and now actually racing him. And not just racing with him but being right up there against him - it's pretty surreal feeling.

"If I had a better run I think could almost beat him. I came from way too far back and it was really close on the line so I don't know. If I got a better run or came off his wheel then maybe I could have come a bit closer but obviously it's good for confidence knowing I'm that close to him – it's not such a big distance.

"I was no more nervous than I usually am before a race, there's probably less pressure coming in here because no one really expects me to be able to beat Cav and Greipel so it takes a lot of the pressure off my shoulders but then in the final it gets pretty nervous because you want to have a good result."

In his first season as a professional, Ewan has been getting to grips with working with a proper lead-out train. He, Adam Blythe and Leigh Howard tried and tested things at Langkawi but the latter was forced to pull out of Turkey through injury shortly before the race.

"We were already a rider down and were probably not as strong as Etixx and Lotto [Soudal] in the trains," said Ewan. "We [Ewan and Blythe] lost each other in the end because we ran out of guys and we had to go off others' wheels and that's always hard to hold the lead-out train when there are riders going everywhere.

"I'm confident when we get Leigh back and the whole team's committed to the lead-out we're just as strong as everyone else."

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