“Right now, there’s like a perfect scenario for me,” Ewan said of his position a few hundred metres out. “They’d lined it out and I was in third wheel so it was perfect for me.”
Many of the pure sprinters had been dropped earlier on the short but punishing climb to the finish line, but Ewan had held firm and looked set to challenge for the stage victory.
“Then I think where it all started to go wrong was about here when I started to go right and Magnus [Cort] also went right and then we collided,” Ewan explained what happened about 150 metres from the line. “And then I think I shifted down a gear and I was just in way too big of a gear.”
Ewan was now third on the road and accelerating, but over-geared and perhaps half-blinded by the effort, he came too close to the wheel in front.
“In the end I think Girmay and Van der Poel came together a little bit and I was really way too close to the wheel. Then when he [Girmay] popped, I just clipped [his wheel] and then it was all over from there.”
The young Australian hit the ground hard but mercifully came away more disappointed than physically harmed.
“I think mostly at the moment it’s just skin, but you kind of never know,” Ewan said of his injuries. “I’m pretty sure I definitely haven’t broken anything, which is good.”
After Harm Vanhoucke hit the ground hard on the run-in to the finish, Ewan’s crash capped off a disappointing start to the Giro d’Italia for Lotto Soudal, especially after such good signs in the finale.
“I felt really good. I was always there in that period in the last kilometre where I knew I had to follow all the moves,” Ewan said. “I was able to follow, so I think I can take a lot of positives: the team were really good. Everyone got to the markers that they needed to get to, so they were super strong. I felt really strong as well.”