Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) is heading into the Giro d’Italia buoyed by his form this year – including a show of climbing power on the Poggio at Milan-San Remo – and as a result the sprinter will be looking to hold on longer when the road ascends to capatilize on more opportunities to turn his sprint speed into stage victories.
Ewan has already won three stages at the Giro d’Italia, two in 2019 and one in 2017, and this year the race marks the start of his effort to take a stage victory at all three Grand Tours in 2021. The 26-year-old has only had one win so far this year, stage 7 of the UAE Tour, though even when off the top step has delivered some impressive performances, most notably at Milan-San Remo.
“The start of the season hasn’t been great as far as the wins go but my form is really good and I think I showed in San Remo that I was climbing quite good as well so hopefully some of that form can come into the Giro as well and maybe I can get through some of the harder stages,” Caleb Ewan told Cycling Pro Net in a pre-race interview.
At Milan-San Remo Ewan won the sprint from the group that was rapidly closing on late-attacker Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) to take second place at the first Monument of the season.
That he excelled in the bunch battle was not a surprise, but what was a surprise was that he had the climbing strength to track the acceleration of Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and world champion Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) on the Poggio.
Increased staying power on the climbs may help Ewan make up for what he said was a Giro d’Italia course with less days than normal to suit the sprinter.
“There are still some good chances and there’s a lot of good flat days for the sprints and also some in between days, where it could be a sprint or it might be too hard,” said Ewan.
Ewan said earlier this week that the first ten days delivered several opportunities and just how he fares in those is likely to determine whether the Lotto Soudal rider reaches Milan. He has started the Giro Rosa three times before but never ridden it through till the end.
Finishing the Giro may not necessarily end up being consistent with his goal of riding and winning a stage at all three Grand Tours. Though, if he does decide to hang on for Monte Zoncolan, the Dolomites and the grand finale in the Alps, he is bound to be all the more grateful for any of that extra climbing strength.
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