• Caleb Ewan adds his wheels to Ai Weiwei's Forever Bicycle installation at the launch of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour (Kathryn Watt)Source: Kathryn Watt
Caleb Ewan knows his real test in cycling will be whether he can consistently beat sprint aces such as Mark Cavendish and Andre Greipel.
Cycling Central

3 Feb 2016 - 9:59 AM 

Caleb Ewan's hot run of Australian cycling form is only one tiny step in a huge challenge for the rising star.

As the 21-year-old wraps up his domestic summer at this week's Jayco Herald Sun Tour, he is also thinking about the sprint giants who are his real test.

For Ewan to realise his potential, he must start consistently beating riders such as Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data), Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) and John Dekenkolb (Giant-Alpecin).

"I know the top five sprinters in the world are still going to be the ones who I want to beat," he said. "They're going to be hard to beat.

"So until I can actually get a few wins against some of those top guys, my confidence is still probably not as high as it would want to be."

Ewan started the year by winning the Mitchelton Bay Classic, followed by the criterium at the national road titles and also two stages at the Santos Tour Down Under.

He is Australia's best sprint prospect since Robbie McEwen.

Once the Orica-GreenEDGE rider goes to Europe, he will aim for the May Giro d'Italia.

Ewan will probably complete only half the three-week race, a reasonable goal for such a young rider, and try to pick up one or two stage wins in the process.

"There will be some good sprinters there, so it will be a good test," he said.

There is a growing spotlight on Ewan and, so far, he has handled the attention admirably.

"It's nice, obviously it comes with winning," he said. "I'd prefer it being like that, winning and having the extra media, that kind of stuff."

The Jayco Herald Tour opens with an evening prologue time trial in the city and Ewan missed out on the overall win last year by just one second.

If conditions are dry, he will go for the win again. But his main personal goal this week will be taking out a stage.

Then Ewan will try to help a teammate achieve a high overall result.

Orica-GreenEDGE have won the last two editions, but Simon Clarke and Cam Meyer are now at rival teams.

Fellow rising stars Jack Haig and Damien Howson are probably their best chances for the overall win.