After taking first blood on stage 2 of this 2022 Tour de France, Fabio Jakobsen answered the question as to how he handled the pressure by delving into his geological knowledge. “Pressure creates diamonds,” he said.
Caleb Ewan suffered a mechanical, seeing him finish 13th, and after his crash at the Giro d’Italia on the first sprint of the race, the Australian has experienced his fair share of misfortune at 2022 Grand Tours.
“Of course you want to start well because it takes a lot of the pressure off for the rest of the Tour,” Ewan said. “It’s always ideal winning early on in the race so then you know you’ve at least got one victory.”
Critics are quick to raise their voices when a rider isn’t going well but for Ewan it doesn’t put any extra fire in his belly.
“Not really to be honest,” he told CyclingTips as to whether questioning of his talent provides extra motivation. “I think that’s just part of being a sportsperson, whatever you do you’re always going to be criticised. It’s just normal I think.”
So no finger-pointing or head-tapping if you win?
“No, no, I don’t really care to be honest,” he insisted. “I’m just here to do what I do, go for wins when I can and see what happens. Hopefully go for the stage victory today.”
Ewan’s 2021 Tour also ended in disaster, crashing on stage 3 as Mark Cavendish went on to take four stages and the green jersey. The pair are friends and Ewan believes Cavendish deserved to be at the race this year.
“He obviously showed he deserved a spot and it’s hard when you’re in a team like that with lots of good sprinters,” Ewan said. “I’d prefer to be sprinting against Cav than Jakobsen, to be honest, but it is what it is.”
At Lotto Soudal Ewan is the team’s star sprinter. Does he prefer being the sole focus? How would he react if he had to fight within his own squad for top spot?
“I don’t think it would bother me too much,” he said. “If you want to be the best sprinter in the world you have to be the best sprinter in your team first. I have that a little bit with Arnaud De Lie coming through, he’s going to be really good so maybe we’ll see that in the next few years, so maybe I’ll have another sprinter to be competing with, but for now I’m happy with what I’m doing and hoping for a win here.”