Six Riders to Watch at 2016 Giro d'Italia
  • winkybiker

    Has Ewan ever beaten Kittell, Greipel, Cavendish, Viviani, Demare or any other highly-rated sprinter head-to-head? This is his chance to show his stuff against the best, perhaps. Most of his victories seem to have been against “Tier 2” guys. I didn’t see him all spring.

    • Dave

      I agree. He’s not yet quick enough or smart enough to beat the big boys, and doesn’t have the endurance to steal stages after getting over harder hills that would normally see the big boys dropped.

      You’re forgetting Gaviria from your list of the top tier sprinters. It was Gaviria who was the winner on the day when Ewan got his best result so far this year of second on a stage of Tirreno-Adriatico with Viviani third. Apart from that one finish ahead of Viviani, the best specialist sprinter he has beaten so far is Giacomo Nizzolo.

      He also regularly loses to strong riders who have a decent sprint like Kristoff, Degenkolb, Sagan etc.

      Bigging up Ewan is, in my opinion, a manifestation of the ‘koala park’ effect. Australia’s relatively high profile in the world of cycling means that our best rider in each specialty (e.g. Ewan as the best sprinter, Porte as the best GC rider) is automatically taken seriously by the media. But when it comes to the rest of the peloton, being the king of the koala park doesn’t matter once you’re racing in the jungle.

      • winkybiker

        I love the “Koala Park” analogy. I think I agree with “yet” regarding speed and positioning/strategy. He has the chance to get faster and smarter but he has to play in the main game for this to happen. Ultimately, his diminutive stature may count against him, though. There’s no getting around the laws of physics.

        • Dave

          It’s a function of cycling not having grown up in this country yet. The sport is not self-sustaining here, and is consequently never any further than one notable retirement away from the same sort of lean times that existed through the 90’s between Anderson and O’Grady.

          The same applies to the Americans and Brits.

          The cycling heartland countries, on the other hand, are quite okay with not having one of their guys at the top all the time. If it goes on too long (e.g. the French) they can get a bit exasperated, but the races there are still as strong as ever.

          It would be best if the media stopped trying to turn Caleb Ewan into a superstar and reported on the top end of the sport as it is. Leaving him in peace will help his development and set him up for life too.

      • Nathan

        I would have to disagree…. in his first couple of years there should be no expectation for big wins against the best in the business. He is still very young and essentially building towards whatever his best may be.
        I would also question your take on his endurance. His performance at the u/23 worlds a few years ago was impressive, sticking as he did with the front runners up that god-awful lump of a hill. He was outlasting pure climbers. Endurance is also the domain of the mature rider, so the good base he clearly has will improve.
        The point about ‘losing regularly’ is a little strange……all of the best sprinters lose races regularly. In a peloton of 200, there are 199 losers, with at least ten in each race who are true contenders.
        It is true that as Australian fans we latch on to whomever seems to be doing well, and we should temper our enthusiasm with a dose of reality, however we should also avoid negativity for the sake of it and actually acknowledge great talent when it does present itself. Caleb may not be the next big thing in cycling, but his palmares to date suggest he has an even chance and should be listed alongside these other ‘breakthrough’ riders.
        An aside…is Gaviria racing the Giro? If not, that would explain why he is only mentioned rather than highlighted specifically.

        • winkybiker

          I have no expectations that he would or should be beating the best guys. Yet. But he needs to get in the game at some point. Impressive rides in U23 races are one thing. The tier-1 races are something else again. Success in the Bay Crits for example is no real indicator of anything he might be able to do in the top races in Europe. Not saying he can’t win these at some point, he just hasn’t yet shown that he can.

          • Nathan

            Your initial statement suggested he shouldnt be considered an ‘up and comer’ because he hasn’t beaten a top line sprinter. I would suggest if he had beaten one of the best, he would have actually made it, rather than being on the way. The races he has won and the riders he has either beaten or gone toe to toe with clearly show he should be considered as rider on the cusp…a breakthrough rider. My pet hate is we as fans seem to be hell bent on knocking a rider’s chances at a future and demanding top results before we even consider them as a prospect. You don’t have to throw out false platitudes, but an intial reaction to downplay actual high level success (he beat Viviani) is pretty poor.

            • winkybiker

              No, take my initial question and then statements as they are written. There is no hidden message regarding his entitlement to be considered an up and comer.

              • Nathan

                Apologies. I have perhaps conflated your post the comments from Dave. That and a slight possibility I was getting on my soap box a little too readily.

  • Tim Ashton

    I must say, reading about the emergence and drastic increase in results for a 33 year old russian on the Rusvelo team, makes my eyes roll and a large sigh is let out.

    • Alex

      Sadly, that was my first thought too…


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