With two stage wins, a day in the ochre jersey, and victory in the People's Choice Classic, Caleb Ewan will be hard pressed to match his feats from 12-months prior at the Tour Down Under in 2017 but the Orica-Scott rider isn't feeling the pressure ahead of the WorldTour opener. Instead, the 22-year-old welcomes the status, explaining it is added 'motivation'.
With a day of rare wet weather plaguing Adelaide after the city hit 37 degrees on Thursday, Ewan fronted the media Friday to explain his ambitions for the race and Orica-Scott's dual general classification strategy with four-time winner Simon Gerrans, and Esteban Chaves.
"We have guys like me who can go for the sprint and then guys like Esteban and Gerro who can go for the GC and harder stages. We will be having a crack at every stage," Ewan said of the approach to the race. "Stage 1 is probably the biggest one for me as there is the most to gain out of winning that first one, getting that ochre jersey. That will be the main one and I will probably go again for the last stage as well and see how I go in those stages in-between Paracombe and Willunga."
The team took advantage of the summer's weather Thursday to recon the Willunga Hill stage 5 finish for the benefit of Chaves and Gerrans, before heading further south to assess the new finish in Victor Harbour, which is likely to suit Ewan. With a few days up his sleeve until the opening criterium and stage 1 on Tuesday, Ewan and new leadout man Roger Kluge, fresh from winning the Rotterdam six-day, will be spending plenty of time to together to ensure their partnership starts off victoriously.
While the race is somewhat lacking in the sprint stocks compared to previous years, Ewan suggested a clean sweep of the bunch finish stages is far from a fait accompli. Chief rivals name checked by Ewan to his ambitions include Bora-hansgrohe duo Peter Sagan and Sam Bennett and Team Sky's Danny van Poppel.
Before the WorldTour stage race gets under way on Tuesday, Ewan is aiming for get a confidence boosting defence of the People Choice Classic he won last year and dial in the leadout with Kluge before stage 1 from Unley to Lyndoch on the same finish where he also won in 2016.
"That is kind of the 'tester' going into the week to see who is on form and who is not. Hopefully I can have a decent one there," added Ewan who confirmed the team has a national criterium jersey sorted for him this year after he raced in an Orica-AIS team kit in 2016.
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