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BALLARAT, Australia (CT) – Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEdge) has lived up to his billing as pre-race favourite in the elite men’s criterium at the Australian Road National Championships, taking a comfortable sprint victory in the twilight race.
Ewan comfortably accounted for Brenton Jones (Drapac) and Anthony Giacoppo (Avanti IsoWhey) in the centre of Ballarat after a clinical performance from his Orica-GreenEdge team.
“It was actually a big relief [to win],” Ewan said after crossing the line. “I came into this race really really nervous — I knew I had some good wins already in the Bay Crits so I was clearly the favourite for today and obviously there’s a fair bit of pressure going into a race as the favourite.”
Drapac and Avanti IsoWhey were the main aggressors in the hour-long criterium, both teams sending multiple riders up the road in an attempt to forge a meaningful breakaway and disrupt Orica-GreenEdge’s plans. Adam Phelan (Drapac), Sam Spokes (Drapac), Robbie Hucker (Avanti IsoWhey) and Pat Lane (Avanti IsoWhey) were particularly aggressive, each putting in multiple attacks and spending time out front.
But in the end no break was able to get more than six seconds clear of the bunch before being shut down by Orica-GreenEdge. Luke Durbridge and Jack Haig did the majority of the work, controlling the race for their 21-year-old sprinter.
In the closing laps Ewan was piloted into position by Mitch Docker and Alex Edmondson before sprinting up the right-hand side of the road to victory.
“I can’t fault the team at all – they rode it perfectly and again just gave me such an easy ride out there,” Ewan said. “And I think that’s what makes the difference in the end.”
The win comes just days after Ewan secured his third overall title at the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic and a year after he was second in both the criterium and the road race at the Australian Road Nationals.
Ewan will go into Sunday’s road race as one of two big favourites for Orica-GreenEdge (the other being Simon Gerrans). But according to Ewan, it’s not yet clear whether he’ll have the opportunity to contest the victory.
“Obviously I’d like to win but we’ll see how the race plays out,” Ewan said. “I actually don’t really know what my role will be because last year I was only meant to do the first three or four laps to make sure the right break got away and I ended up being there in the end for the sprint.
“To be honest I really don’t know what the team’s going to make me do.”
Earlier in the evening Jesse Kerrison (State of Matter/MAAP) won the U23 men’s criterium title ahead of Sam Welsford and Daniel Fitter (State of Matter/MAAP). Kerrison had gone into the race in a lead-out role for Fitter – one of the pre-race favourites – but a dropped chain for Fitter in the finishing straight meant Kerrison had to contest the sprint.
The Australian Road National Championships continue tomorrow with the U23 men’s, elite women’s and elite men’s individual time trials in Buninyong.
|1.||3||Caleb EWAN (NSW)||59:54|
|2.||26||Brenton JONES (VIC)||+0|
|3.||41||Anthony GIACOPPO (WA)||+0|
|4.||42||Patrick SHAW (VIC)||+0|
|5.||21||Alexander EDMONDSON (SA)||+0|
|6.||139||Jackson LAW (NSW)||+4|
|7.||43||Luke PARKER (VIC)||+4|
|8.||105||Scott SUNDERLAND (WA)||+7|
|9.||90||Joel WALSH (NSW)||+7|
|10.||39||Robbie HUCKER (VIC)||+11|
|11.||109||Sam EVANS (VIC)||+11|
|12.||100||Fabio CALABRIA (VIC)||+11|
|13.||131||Cameron IVORY (NSW)||+11|
|14.||137||Tyler SPURRELL (VIC)||+11|
|15.||120||Aaron WATTS (NSW)||+11|
|16.||151||James CUMMINGS (VIC)||+11|
|17.||53||Benjamin HILL (ACT)||+11|
|18.||33||Steele VON HOFF (VIC)||+11|
|19.||129||Craig HUTTON (NSW)||+11|
|20.||81||Tommy NANKERVIS (VIC)||+16|
|21.||145||Trevor SPENCER (VIC)||+18|
|22.||30||Bernard SULZBERGER (TAS)||+20|
|23.||48||Alexander SMYTH (VIC)||+24|
|24.||45||Joshua TAYLOR (NSW)||+24|
|25.||150||Darcy WOOLLEY (VIC)||+26|
|26.||61||Ray FORBES (VIC)||+26|
|27.||111||Paul VAN DER PLOEG (VIC)||+26|
|28.||27||Adam PHELAN (ACT)||+29|
|29.||136||Jay MCCARTHY (QLD)||+29|
|30.||138||Ivan MICHELIN-BEARD (ACT)||+29|
|31.||54||Cameron BAYLY (SA)||+29|
|32.||110||Dale SCARFE (VIC)||+31|
|33.||113||Kane WALKER (VIC)||+33|
|34.||31||Graeme BROWN (WA)||+36|
|35.||124||Scott LAW (NSW)||+36|
|36.||13||Lachlan NORRIS (VIC)||+42|
|37.||34||Glenn O’SHEA (SA)||+44|
|38.||29||William CLARKE (TAS)||+44|
|39.||85||Chris WINN (VIC)||+44|
|40.||47||Jayden COPP (QLD)||+48|
|41.||59||Liam KELLY (NSW)||+58|
|42.||98||Russell GILL (SA)||+1:09|
|43.||56||Nicholas WOODS (QLD)||+1:11|
|44.||46||Tom ROBINSON (TAS)||+1:14|
|45.||35||Sam CROME (VIC)||+1:17|
|46.||122||Mitchell MULHERN (QLD)||+1:44|
|47.||49||Samuel VOLKERS (QLD)||+2:45|
|dnf||7||Neil VAN DER PLOEG (VIC)|
|dnf||8||Luke DURBRIDGE (AUS)|
|dnf||9||Samuel SPOKES (NSW)|
|dnf||12||Travis MEYER (WA)|
|dnf||15||Mitchell DOCKER (AUS)|
|dnf||16||Nathan EARLE (TAS)|
|dnf||20||Jack HAIG (VIC)|
|dnf||38||Patrick LANE (VIC)|
|dnf||40||Mark O’BRIEN (VIC)|
|dnf||69||Stuart SHAW (ACT)|
|dnf||73||Shannon JOHNSON (VIC)|
|dnf||80||Andrew KILLINGSWORTH (VIC)|
|dnf||82||Dominik DUDKIEWICZ (VIC)|
|dnf||91||Matthias KIERNAN (VIC)|
|dnf||96||Jacob KAUFFMANN (NSW)|
|dnf||115||Peter JOHNSTONE (VIC)|
|dnf||126||Patrick DRAPAC (VIC)|
|dnf||133||Thomas COATES (QLD)|
|dnf||141||Todd SATCHELL (VIC)|
|dnf||148||Shaun O’CALLAGHAN (VIC)|
|dnf||152||Liam HILL (VIC)|
|dns||36||Mitchell LOVELOCK-FAY (ACT)|
|dns||44||Alex WOHLER (QLD)|
|dns||76||Joel STRACHAN (VIC)|
|dns||95||Jake MAGEE (VIC)|
|dns||140||Ned VOLK (VIC)|