Caleb Ewan has some big targets on his 2021 radar in his third year with the Lotto Soudal WorldTour team. The Australian sprinter said he wanted to race all three Grand Tours for the first time in the same season, and win a stage at each race as well.
Ewan collected seven of the 12 total victories won by the Lotto Soudal squad last season. It’s a tall order for the sprinter, who measures about 15cm shorter in height than his rivals but is now known for his big accomplishments on the bike.
“The Tour offers more options for sprinters this year and that is an opportunity for me. In other years I was not involved in that green battle and I only aimed for stage victories,” he told Net Nieuwsblad.
About racing the Giro d’Italia, the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España, he said, “But that is one of my goals in 2021. Just like the green jersey, by the way.”
To win a stage in each of the Grand Tours in one calendar year was last accomplished by Italian Alessandro Petacchi when racing for Fasso Bortolo in 2003, and he raked in 15 stage wins combined that year at the three races.
Ewan has five Tour stage wins, adding two victories in 2020. He was first to the line on stage 3 in Sisteron, which later Ewan said was his favorite win of the season, and then won stage 11 in Poitiers. He has five career wins at the Giro and one stage win at the Vuelta, which he last raced in 2015 while at Orica-GreenEDGE.
“Five is quite an achievement and I’ll go for the green jersey in the future,” Ewen said last fall about the Tour. In the points classification in Francd, his best placement was second in 2019, 68 points behind winner Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe).
"My job for the team is to win," he explained in October after a win at Scheldeprijs at the end of 2020. "Everyone has their role in the team, and they're all important. My role is to win races, and I'm happy that I could deliver this year."
Ewan is preparing to leave his European base in Monaco in a matter of days for the Lotto Soudal training camp in Spain, which will be divided in three groups – sprinters, climbers, Classics riders – for continued COVID-19 coronavirus protocols. Due to UCI race cancellations related to the pandemic, he is not in Australia this January.
Ewan has only raced two Grand Tours in the same year on one occasion, 2019, coming away with multiple wins in the Giro and Tour. He is still just 26 old, he and his lead-out men – Roger Kluge and Jasper De Buyst – are all under contract through 2022, and the races are back on their traditional calendar positions, so far this year.
"There was always the opportunity to go to the Vuelta, but it feels like a really long year, even though we haven't actually raced that much," Ewan had said about 2020. "I hope that next season the cycling calendar is normal again."
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