Caleb Ewan determined to bring the speed at next year’s Race Melbourne


Australian sprint star Caleb Ewan. Picture: Michael Klein

AUSTRALIA’S fastest cyclist has his sights set on its fastest race, with Caleb Ewan determined to turn on the speed at Race Melbourne.

Ewan will enter the 116.6km criterium on the Albert Park Formula One circuit on January 25 with a point to prove after struggling to fifth in this year’s blistering inaugural edition.

The sprinting boy wonder, who on Monday pipped his idol Robbie McEwen in a Ewan v McEwen match race, said he was determined to make amends.

“I was disappointed not to win last year. I had a good start to the season and then I just didn’t get the win here,” Ewan said.

“Next year I want to do well at Tour Down Under again, but here I want to finish off my Australian season with a win.”

An unstoppable Ewan won four stages and the People’s Choice Classic criterium at this year’s Tour Down Under but he was caught off-guard by a maiden Race Melbourne contested at an average speed of nearly 50kmh that saw his Orica-Scott teammates tire keeping two large breakaways in-check.

Robbie McEwen takes on Caleb Ewan at Albert Park. Picture: Michael Klein

“A lot of us went into the race thinking it would be a lot easier than what it was so we didn’t expect to have to do so much work and that showed at the end of the race,” Ewan said.

“You can have a really good season in Australia and then if you don’t win here, you kind of always look back at your last race and that’s what you remember going back to Europe.”

The Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana stage winner was yesterday named the event ambassador — an honour he admitted put him further under the microscope.

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Towards Zero Race Melbourne

Albert Park, January 25, 2018

Elite Women
2.30pm (EST), 63.6km
Elite Men
5pm (EST), 116.6km

“I guess it’s a little bit of extra pressure. But I’m always going into these races with high expectations of myself and probably a lot of pressure from the team,” Ewan said.

“Obviously it’s going to be my last race in Australia so I really want to finish on a high and pressure comes from that as well.”

If conditions are favourable, Ewan said a sprint finish could near speeds of 80km/h, with race director Scott Sunderland revealing the F1 circuit had shocked the peloton.

Robbie McEwan and Caleb Ewan at the 2018 Towards Zero Race Melbourne launch. Picture: Michael Klein

“The riders were very surprised at the amount of effort, speed and concentration they needed. It’s tightly packed … you can’t fall asleep for one second in this race,” Sunderland said.

“The data coming back from the ride at this year’s event was that this was extremely hard for a flat circuit. A lot of people think that because there’s no mountains it is easy, but they’re wrong.”

Ewan wasn’t quite nearing 80km/h yesterday, but was still made to dig deep to hold off a retired, but fiercely competitive, McEwen.

“I watched Robbie when I was growing up so it’s an honour to race against him,” Ewan said.

McEwen said: “I won’t get my breath back for a week.”

Originally published as Ewan sets sights on Australia’s fastest race


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