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Caleb Ewan takes aim at Wollongong Worlds in 2022

Benelux Tour 2021 17th Edition 6th stage Ottignies LouvainlaNeuveHouffalize 12076 km 04092021 Caleb Ewan AUS Lotto Soudal photo Tim van WichelenCVBettiniPhoto2021
Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) at the Benelux Tour (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Caleb Ewan has said that his main goal for the 2022 season will be the Road World Championships on home ground in Wollongong, Australia.

The sprinter will not be attempting a repeat of his 2021 goal of winning a stage at each Grand Tour in the same season, he said, and will instead look to build his season around peaking for the Worlds in late September.

Ewan, who heads into his fourth season with Lotto Soudal next year, built up to the Leuven Worlds after leaving the Tour de France after three stages after sustaining a broken collarbone in the early crashes, but didn't finish the 268-kilometre race as Australia failed to compete in the final.

He confirmed to WielerFlits that Wollongong – just over an hour south of his hometown of Sydney – is his main aim for 2022.

"The World Championships will take place in Wollongong in Australia next year. I can win there," Ewan said. "In the second half of the season, I will mainly focus on that race.

"The Vuelta will probably not be the best preparation for it. My program is not fixed yet, but for now I would say that I won't start there.

"Not next year, I think," he added, when asked about the prospect of another bid at the Grand Tour 'stage win triple'.

This year, Ewan looked on course to achieve his goal to become the first man to do so since Alessandro Petacchi in 2003. He took two stage wins at the Giro d'Italia before pulling out early to focus on the Tour but was forced to leave the race on stage 3.

He returned two months later and added a stage win at the Benelux Tour to take his season win tally to six but didn't race the Vuelta in a bid to peak for the Worlds. At March's Milan-San Remo, he repeated his 2018 second place winning the bunch sprint just behind winner Jasper Stuyven. Another shot at the sprinter's Classic is the goal next spring, Ewan said.

"Of course there are races where I want to perform at the beginning of the season, but the big goal is Milan-San Remo. It's the only Monument I can win so it's logical for me to go for it. As I've shown in previous editions, it's definitely a race I can win."

Ewan added that there have been years where he's been dropped a long way before the final, adding that teammates like Philippe Gilbert are good to have in the team in that case.

"It's up for discussion, but on the other hand I've also had editions where I left the peloton on the Cipressa," he said. "There's less pressure on me if there are teammates who can ride for a result if I don't have a good day. It's a long way off now, but by then we'll see who's in good shape."

Despite the road season having just finished – Ewan's last race was the Worlds – he was already talking about meeting up with his team again, including new teammates Victor Campenaerts, Rüdiger Selig, and Michael Schwarzmann, who could merge into his lead out train next season.

"Some strong riders will be added to the team," Ewan said. "We have two more training camps before we race together so I'll get to know them there.

"Normally it takes a few races before everyone is well matched, but I think with a good program – with a lot of sprint opportunities – that should happen quickly. Then we can move on to bigger races."

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