Barring any unexpected late call-ups to late-season races, Caleb Ewan's time at Mitchelton-Scott was set to come to an end with the Tour of Britain circuit race in Central London on Sunday, closing a difficult few months for the sprinter. Ewan had seemed at odds with his team since his non-selection for the Tour de France this July, and his teammates were unable to control a five-rider move on the British Tour's penultimate stage into Mansfield, leaving him just London to end his season on a winning note.
"They've told me that this is my last race of the year but obviously there are other races so they may decide to put me in another one. I don't know," said Ewan as he attempted to pull on a pair of skin-tight overshoes before the damp start to stage 7 of the Tour of Britain at Norton Bridge. He faced two final opportunities to add to his victory tally which stood at a meagre two for the year, with – he estimated – a frustrating 20 podiums this season, when he has been close to the mark but not quite hitting it.
"To be honest, I don't really want to race any more [after this]; there aren't really any races I'd like to target. I'd be happy to finish here. I want to put this season behind me. It's not been a great year for me and I want to reset and refocus for next year. It's going to be a fresh start, and I want to start with some more wins – just get this year behind me."
A couple of months have passed but the 24-year-old remains understandably unhappy with Mitchelton's decision to focus all their attentions on a bid for the overall standings with Adam Yates, which ultimately went nowhere.
"I think it's still disappointing. It kind of stuffed up my season, really, so it's not ideal, but I've put it behind me and I just need to refocus from now."
Ewan will move for 2019 to the Lotto Soudal team in Belgium, where he will replace their in-house sprinter, Andre Greipel. He will take his current Mitchelton teammate Roger Kluge with him, meaning he will at least have his regular minder next year, as the tall German performs an invaluable service keeping him out of the wind and helping him to keep his position in the bunch.
His programme with Lotto has yet to be defined, but Ewan already knows where he wants to start.
"We haven't had the meeting yet but I assume it will be sort of similar to what I've been doing: starting in Australia with Nationals and the Tour Down Under, but I'm not sure."
His hopes were – obviously – that he would do the Tour de France after this year's events, and the absence of a natural general classification leader at Lotto would do his cause no harm.
Ewan was looking forward to a break, and also to getting married in early October to his fiancée, Ryann Delaney, and so he had his fingers crossed there would be no late call-ups.
"Hopefully we will then go away somewhere. It depends if the team puts me in a race in the middle of my honeymoon."
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