Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEdge) admitted to mixed feelings after the finish of the opening stage of the Tour de Yorkshire in Settle. The Australian sprinter confessed he got his tactics wrong as he contested the stage victory with LottoNL-Jumbo’s Dylan Groenewegen, but said he got some consolation from his form as he looks ahead to the upcoming Giro d’Italia.
Speaking prior on the eve of the Tour de Yorkshire, Ewan had said that he didn’t know how his form was coming off a six-week training block. The rolling first stage run in chilly and damp conditions between Beverley and Settle provided an an answer.
“I felt pretty good. It probably took me until we got to that big climb [of Greenhow Hill] with about 60k’s to go that I actually started to feel that I was getting my race legs back. But I felt really good in the end,” explained Ewan.
He revealed he was less impressed with his personal performance in the final few hundred metres after his team had set him up for a shot at the stage win. “I made a few tactical errors in the last part,” he said.
“I went on the wrong side twice in the last 200 metres. Once, in the last 100 metres, I was coming around on the left and Groenewegen moved more towards the left and I couldn’t go through on the barriers any more so I had to stop pedalling and try to come back around him, and obviously that close to the finish line you can’t really make up that much room.”
He added ruefully: “Yeah, I think there was a few tactical errors on my part that could have cost me the win today. But the upside is that I felt good all day and I certainly can’t complain about how my form is, so hopefully I can get it right tomorrow.”
As well as his form, the 21-year-old Australian said he also been impressed with the crowds that turned out to support the riders on what was a dismal Yorkshire day.
“I’ve ridden a couple of times in the UK before, at RideLondon and at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, but this is the first time I’ve raced here and the crowds were absolutely amazing. Considering the weather wasn’t that good and how cold and wet it was, it was nice to see such massive crowds,” he said.
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Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).