Caleb Ewan sprints to maiden Tour de France stage victory!
Second stage victory for Lotto Soudal at the Tour!
Caleb Ewan emerged victorious in the fourth stage of the Tour of Turkey today. At the end of the over 190 kilometres long stage, the Australian beat Juan José Lobato and Sam Bennett in a thrilling uphill sprint. Lobato tried to surprise by launching his sprint early, but Caleb Ewan was able to answer that acceleration, passed the Spaniard during the final metres, and took the victory!
The longest stage of the Tour of Turkey unfolded quite traditionally. From the gun, five riders went on the attack, but soon two riders let go and returned to the bunch. That way, it became an almost impossible task for the early break, also due to the headwind, to stay ahead. Eventually, the remaining escapees were caught at around ten kilometres from the finish, which was the sign for Lotto Soudal to get to the front of the peloton. In the run-up to the final climb, Caleb Ewan was kept in a perfect position by his teammates. Moments later, the Australian rewarded those efforts with a stage victory! In an exciting sprint finish, it was the Spaniard Lobato who tried to beat his rivals by starting his sprint quite early, but Caleb Ewan timed his sprint to perfection and passed the Spaniard in the ultimate metres. That way, Ewan took his second official victory for Lotto Soudal.
Caleb Ewan: “Already after the first stages, although not having the best legs, I knew that a stage win would be possible, so I got more confidence as the race progressed and also my legs were feeling better as well. Actually, the last three to four kilometres uphill were harder than I first thought. I did some research online beforehand, but you can never really see the gradients that way. The team always kept me in a perfect position during the run-up to the finishing climb, so I didn’t have to fight too much before the roads started to rise. That way, I could save some valuable energy before the final kick-up to the line, which clearly helped me at the end. Sam Bennett would have been hard to beat, but when he was supposed to start his sprint, I noticed that he was pretty tired. That is when I made my move. I was lucky that I still had a good acceleration left in the end, with Lobato starting his sprint quite early. I did not produce my best sprint power ever but it seemed like I still had the most energy left.”
“I took my two victories so far this year both in uphill sprints, but I am confident that I can still win during the flat finishes as well. I have been missing my lead-out man Jasper De Buyst. During the hectic finishes, I was maybe lacking that last guy to get me in the perfect position. The uphill finishes are therefore a little easier to position myself. It is a relief to take the victory here with the team constantly supporting me, and now I get to reward them with a win. There’s a little less pressure now going into the final days. I hope this victory gets the ball rolling for the Giro d’Italia, which will be my next race in a few weeks. I hope, once the Giro arrives, to be in the best possible shape.”