The Australian out-sprinted Team Sky's Danny Van Poppel and Bora-hansgrohe's Sam Bennett at the end of stage 1 of the Tour Down Under after riders suffered in the heat. The stage was reduced to 118km after talks between riders and organisers, with one of the final loops lopped off, riders faced two finishing circuits around Lyndoch rather than three.
After Peter Sagan lead-out Bennett down the middle of the road, Ewan came off the wheels and blasted up the left side of the finishing straight, while Van Poppel staked out his ground down the middle of the road. Sagan had taken an early advantage but then Bennett hesitated for a fatal split second and his chance was gone.
Ewan also took the lead in the overall classification, points, and young rider classifications after a successful day for Orica-Scott that saw Simon Gerrans pick up two precious seconds in the time bonus sprints.
The stage was animated early on by Astana’s Laurens De Vreese, who escaped alone after just three kilometres and held off the bunch until less than 20km to go. The 29-year-old visibly struggled in the heat, his tires sticking to the tarmac as the sun baked down upon him and he constantly checked back in the hope that the peloton would catch him.
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