• Caleb Ewan wins round one of the Mitchelton Bay Classic in a canter (CA/Twitter)
Caleb Ewan, Australian cycling's successor to Robbie McEwen, has reminded everyone again of his formidable talent with a withering turn of speed in Geelong.
By
Cycling Central

Source:
AAP
1 Jan 2016 - 8:49 PM  UPDATED 2 Jan 2016 - 10:21 AM

Ewan and new Orica-GreenEDGE teammate Jack Haig were outnumbered, but they still dominated round one of the Mitchelton Bay Classic criterium series.

Ewan launched his sprint down the back straight of the last lap on the fast Ritchie Boulevard circuit and no-one could match him.

The defending series champion won by several lengths in his first race for four months, showing he is the man to beat again in this series.

The 21-year-old sprinter has not put a foot wrong so far in his emerging professional career.

He is fast becoming Australian road cycling's next great sprinter after McEwen, who won three Tour de France green jerseys.

Orica-GreenEDGE only planned to start three riders in this race, but fellow newcomer Alex Edmondson had to pull out because his bike was damaged on the flight from Tasmania.

After Robbie Hucker's (Drapac) impressive solo break was reeled in halfway through the one-hour race, Haig went to work setting a fierce pace at the front for Ewan.

After saying pre-race he was unsure about his form, Ewan eliminated any uncertainty with his blistering finish.

"It's one of the hardest races to start (the season) with one hour full-gas," Ewan said.

"But more impressive today was Jack's performance.

"He did an awesome job as you saw during the race. I'm so impressed with him."

Haig, 22, is also a rising star, with the climber finishing second overall last year at the Tour de l'Avenir stage race.

Earlier on Friday, Australian cycling star Gracie Elvin made the most of impeccable teamwork to outsprint her friend Kimberley Wells (High5) in race one of the women's series.

Elvin led an Orica-AIS quinella, with Lizzie Williams taking second.

Wells, the reigning Australian criterium champion and probably the best sprinter in the women's field, had to settle for third.

The race represented a formidable show of strength by Orica-AIS ahead of the national road championships next week in Ballarat.

Elvin, the two-time Australian road race champion, was trying to set up the final bunch sprint for teammate Sarah Roy.

But Elvin found herself in a perfect position on the crucial last corner and held position on the inside for the win.

"I feel a little bad for winning, which is unusual," Elvin said.

"It's awesome to win for the team, but I was really hoping to support my teammates today.

"I hope they're not too upset with me - a bit of champagne will make up for it tonight hopefully."

A notable absentee from Friday's race was reigning series champion Chloe Hosking (Wiggle High5), who is only racing the middle two rounds ahead of the road nationals.