Caleb Ewan sprints to maiden Tour de France stage victory!
Second stage victory for Lotto Soudal at the Tour!
Caleb Ewan took his second stage win in the Tour of Turkey today. In the ultimate stage with finish in Istanbul, the Australian Lotto Soudal rider beat the Dutchman Fabio Jakobsen and the Irishman Sam Bennett during a technical uphill finish in Istanbul. That way, Ewan leaves Turkey with two stage wins and gains confidence in the run-up to his next big goal, the Giro d’Italia.
The over 170 kilometres long closing stage between Sakarya and Istanbul was animated by five escapees, but they were not granted a lot of advantage. In the chase, Lotto Soudal rider Harm Vanhoucke did a considerable amount of work to bring back the early break. At five kilometres from the line, the escapees were caught and the riders prepared for the much-anticipated bunch sprint in Istanbul. However, Sam Bennett had other plans in mind and launched a fierce attack in the final kilometre. Caleb Ewan had to make a serious effort to get on the wheel, but the Australian clearly had some energy left in the end to attack himself and leave the Irishman behind. That way, Caleb Ewan still had plenty of time to celebrate his second stage win in this year’s Tour of Turkey!
Caleb Ewan: “It certainly was a finish where it would have been beneficial to have a full team but we were running a bit short with Jasper De Buyst not taking the start yesterday and Carl Frederik Hagen not being able to participate. So, we did all we could with the guys we had left. Harm Vanhoucke rode a complete day at the front of the bunch and Roger Kluge did a perfect job in the run-up to the final kilometre. Without him bringing me there, it would have been hard to win on a finish like the one today.”
“I wasn’t really surprised by the attack of Sam Bennett because I watched last year’s finish and he did the same thing. Only last year, he managed to stay away. There were still some Deceuninck – Quick Step riders up there, so I knew it would be difficult for Bennett to make it till the very end. I took advantage of that and while I saw them fading a bit, my legs still felt pretty good. So, that’s when I jumped away and bridged to Bennett. I passed him right away because I wanted to be the first through the last corner. When I came around that final turn and seeing that I had a gap, I knew if I kept going as hard I could, the stage win would be mine. It was a really tough finish but I am very happy with how it turned out.”
“Coming to the Tour of Turkey, I didn’t really know what to expect. Honestly, I don’t think I was in my best shape so I didn’t have too many expectations. As I could take two stage wins, it is much better than what I expected beforehand. For sure, it gives me confidence in the run-up to the Giro d’Italia. I still got some more form to gain but for sure, it is a good confidence boost!”