All eyes will rightfully be on Cadel Evans during January's jam packed Australian cycling event calendar but fans should also keep an eye out for Orica-GreenEDGE sprinter Caleb Ewan.
By
Cycling Central

7 Apr 2015 - 5:20 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:35 PM

After a full professional debut at the Tour of Beijing in October, Ewan will first put his celebrated speed to the test at the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic criterium series before turning to the Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships.

The 20-year-old Ewan won the series in 2013 and the final race in 2014 before bookending his season with a silver medal at the 2014 UCI Road World Championships and Tour of Beijing start.

He is regarded as the most exciting Australian sprinting prospect since Robbie McEwan, with many seeing similarities between the two, but Ewan is his own man, and he comes with a sprinting style reminiscent of Mark Cavendish.

At the 'Bay Crits' he will be supported by the first class Orica-GreenEDGE group, of Mitch Docker, Michael Hepburn, Damien Howson, Leigh Howard and Cameron Meyer, themselves with winning resumes.

"Caleb is targeting early season races so he should be in great form, we have two guys going for the time trial at the nationals in Hepburn and Howson, Leigh Howard is always very good at the Bay Crits and Mitch Docker has won here in the past also," said team director Matt Wilson.

"It's a good preparation race for the summer. What it does is give these guys a bit of extra racing heading into a full January program so they get time to do some intensity, get the race legs on and then move onto the nationals, Tour Down Under and the races to follow."

It's not a super high pressure race for us, but that being said anytime we put the number on in Australia we are expected to win.

"I think if we walk away with a stage win throughout the series we will be pretty happy with that. Anything else is a bonus."

After the series Ewan will then tackle the Road The National Championships criterium in Ballarat where he will again face off against many of the same riders, but the stakes will be higher.

The 20-year-old won both the criterium and road race in the under 23 category but will ride in the senior ranks for 2015.

"I'm more excited than anything. When I get closer to the races I get a bit more nervous, but at the moment I'm just full of excitement," said Ewan.

"It was good to have the contract with GreenEDGE start in October. I got to do my first WorldTour race and it went pretty well, the team was helping me and it was a pretty good feeling.

"Steele von Hoff is going really well and he won it last year. Shannon Johnson and Neil van der Ploeg will be among the other key riders to watch.

"So there are a few good guys out there, and a lot of the teams like Avanti and Drapac who will both be there trying to win that race.

"It'll be hard competing against these teams if I'm by myself."

Ewan will not be on the roster for the Santos Tour Down Under WorldTour event, with Orica-GreenEDGE preferring to ease his entry into a fully fledged professional career in 2015 with less pressured mix of races.