After 11 stages of a Giro d’Italia that he’d probably rather forget, Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) is heading home to concentrate on his build-up to the Tour de France.
Ewan’s Giro started in frustrating fashion, crashing in the final sprint on stage 1 after getting himself in a good position on the uphill drag to the line. In the sprint stages that followed, Ewan took eighth on stage 3 (won by Mark Cavendish), was dropped on an early climb on stage 5 (which Arnaud Démare won), took second place on stage 6 (behind Démare), and then was the last rider to finish on Tuesday’s stage 10, more than half an hour behind stage winner Biniam Girmay.
In an Instagram post after that stage, Ewan vented his frustration. “The Giro from hell continued for me today,” he wrote. “Got dropped around 80 km to go alone and just made it within the time limit. Since my crash on the first stage I feel like my Giro just keeps going downhill. Another sprint chance tomorrow so I’m hoping to turn it around.”
Stage 11 didn’t bring any joy either – Ewan was only able to manage fifth on a day won by Alberto Dainese (DSM).
Het Nieuwsblad reports that Ewan will now leave the Giro ahead of stage 12, to rest and prepare for upcoming appearances at the Baloise Belgium Tour (June 15) and the Tour de France (July 1). Ewan had always planned to leave the Giro early, but hoped to take a stage win – if not multiple – before doing so.
Lotto Soudal confirmed the news of Ewan’s departure early on the morning of stage 12.
“As initially planned, the Australian will leave the Giro during the second week of racing,” the team said in a press release. “With plenty of mountain stages coming up, together with the team it was decided that Ewan will be heading home. Following a short period of rest, the sprinter will build up towards his next big goal of the season, the Tour de France, where he will also be targeting victories in the sprint stages.”
While a fully rested Ewan will be among the sprinters to beat at the Tour, he might well be without a key member of his lead-out train: Jasper De Buyst. The Belgian crashed heavily at the Tour of Turkey in April and is still recovering from fractures to his hip socket and collarbone. It’s not yet clear whether he’ll be back racing, let alone at a high-enough level, in time to support Ewan at the Tour.