• Winner, winner, chicken dinner. Caleb Ewan wins his first Cycling Australia Road National Championship (Kathryn Watt)Source: Kathryn Watt
Caleb Ewan says which way the wind blows will have a big bearing on his chances in the road race at the Australian championships.

7 Jan 2016 - 12:51 PM  UPDATED 7 Jan 2016 - 12:54 PM

Caleb Ewan's hopes for another big result at the Australian road cycling championships are blowing in the wind.

The 21-year-old justified his favouritism on Wednesday night in the elite men's criterium, capping off supreme teamwork from Orica-GreenEDGE to win by several lengths.

It was Ewan's first senior national title.

Ewan dominates criterium championships
Caleb Ewan made the most of perfect teamwork from Orica-GreenEDGE to win his first senior national road title.

Now he will prepare for Sunday's road race on the testing circuit at Buninyong, near Ballarat.

Ewan finished second in last year's road race behind Heinrich Haussler.

But Orica-GreenEDGE were without two-time champion Simon Gerrans, whose broken collarbone a few weeks earlier was the start of his disastrous season.

A determined Gerrans is back and he will clearly be their No.1 rider.

Ewan said which way the wind blows on the testing climb immediately after the start-finish line will have a big bearing on his chances.

"Obviously I'd like to win, but we'll see how the race plays out," he said.

"It makes a massive difference with the wind - which way that blows.

"If it's a tail wind up the climb, it's probably going to be too hard for me.

"So I'm hoping for a head wind."

Ewan said the team is yet to have the meeting where their tactics will be finalised.

"I actually don't really know what my role will be," he said.

"Even when there is a plan, it doesn't always go the way you want it to and different stuff happens."

Last year, Ewan was supposed to only be in the first three or four of the 18 laps and make sure the right breakaway formed.

Instead, he lost the final sprint to Haussler, who will not defend his title.

While Ewan would love another shot at the title, he acknowledged Gerrans's status as team leader.

"I'm a lot stronger this year than I was last year and I know ... how to race over the 18 laps," he said.

"Having that knowledge going into this race is going to be a massive benefit.

"I'm probably not so much a clear favourite, like he (Gerrans) is.

"It doesn't really matter what the conditions are like, he's always going to go well."

The nationals will continue on Thursday with the individual time trials at Buninyong.

New BMC teammates Richie Porte and Rohan Dennis will headline the men's field, with Shara Gillow and Katrin Garfoot among the women to beat.