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by Mark Zalewski
January 16, 2017
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Kirsten Wild’s powerful sprint captures stage 2 of the Santos Women’s Tour; Caleb Ewan sprints to People’s Choice Classic victory at the Tour Down Under; Amanda Spratt carves out formidable lead in first stage of 2017 Santos Women’s Tour; Vos wins another World Cup, de Boer solidifies overall; Van Aert wins Italian World Cup round, overall; French government turns down request to make mechanical doping illegal; Toon Aerts likely out for season with shoulder injury from crash, riders question race course safety; American coach calls on Cycling Ireland to send team to world cyclocross championships; Owain Doull skips People’s Choice Classic with stomach bug; Di Rocco reelected president of Italian Cycling Federation; Money raised for 105-year-old world record breaker; Video: Meet Tiffany Cromwell; Video: Season prep with Wanty Groupe-Gobert.
The battle between Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) and Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) looms as one of the most fascinating of this year’s Santos Tour Down Under. Ewan, the young Australian speedster, so often billed as one of the world’s most promising sprinters. Sagan, at the height of his powers, the two-time reigning world champion and five-time Tour de France green jersey winner. This evening, on the streets of East Adelaide, it was Caleb Ewan that drew first blood at the 2017 Tour Down Under. But it wasn’t exactly the head-to-head with Sagan that many were expecting.
Twenty-two-year-old Ewan, in the green and gold of Australian criterium champion, dashed to a convincing win at the People’s Choice Classic, the curtain-raiser criterium that precedes the Tour Down Under by two days. Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) was a distant second while Sagan, on lead-out duties for his Irish teammate, claimed third.
Ewan rode the criterium to perfection, repeating the victory he claimed a year ago in the same event. He cruised around the 2.3km circuit near the back of the peloton for all but four of the race’s 22 laps. Only when the pace increased in the closing kilometres did Ewan move up the bunch. He slotted in towards the back of the Orica-Scott train, his teammates having done most of the work at the front of the peloton to catch lone leader Ben O’Connor (Dimension Data) with two laps to go.
Ewan’s new lead-out man, Roger Kluge, delivered his young teammate into a perfect position (see video below) in what was the pair’s first race together.
“I don’t think it usually happens like that,” Ewan said of the pair’s instant success. “But all I had to do was really follow him. In the last couple of laps he was sitting behind me so I got a better ride up the front and I was surprised he was still there because it was so messy behind me at the end. So he did super-well and came around me with about a lap to go and then just led me out perfectly.”
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