2012 was a big year for Caleb Ewan, rounding out his season on the road with the silver medal at the UCI Road World Championships in the junior men's road race. 2013 is poised to be even bigger with the 18-year-old stepping up into the under-23 category.
The dynamic young sprinter heads into this New Year in much the same fashion as the last, but this time around, knowing eyes are following him at the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic. Ewan, from the New South Wales' southern highlands, took out the first of the three-race series in an impressive last-lap display on Tuesday night.
It was an important race for a number of reasons, as he gears up for the Australian Cycling Australia Road National Championships next week. In his first race as head coach with the New South Wales Institute of Sport, long-time mentor Brad McGee is on hand in Geelong to guide his young charge.
Ewan was feeling some pressure heading into the 2013 series off the back of last year's results where he nearly claimed the overall, but McGee told the teenager to ignore it. If anything, 2013 marks a shift in Ewan's thinking. Mick Kejda has previously guided Ewan under the NSWIS banner, playing a key role in his development but it's the WorldTour experience of McGee which is now all-important as Ewan is gradually edging towards the elite ranks.
The step-up in age category should prove an interesting test for Ewan off the back of his wins as a junior at Liège-La Gleize and the Regio Tour in 2012. For this reason, Ewan is actually taking the time to enjoy racing at the Bay Crits this week.
"For me, I think these races actually suit me a bit better than an under 23 race because they're a lot more organised," Ewan explained. "Under 23 races are a lot harder to read and I think that's what makes it hard, rather than who I'm up against."
Ewan will compete in both the criterium and the road race.
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