• Caleb Ewan sprints for the win at the Tour of Yorkshire (Getty) (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Aussie sprint sensation Caleb Ewan took the win for ORICA-BikeExchange in a wet and crash-heavy Cyclassics Hamburg in Germany today. Nacer Bouhanni took the win on the line but was later disqualified for unfairly deviating from his line in the sprint.
By
Cycling Central

22 Aug 2016 - 11:22 AM  UPDATED 22 Aug 2016 - 12:13 PM

It was the first European race win of the season for Ewan, with all of his previous wins coming in Australia at the Tour Down Under, Herald Sun Tour and the Bay Classic Criteriums.

He has been up there in races like the Giro d'Italia and the Tour of Poland without quite cracking it for the victory. 

The win in Hamburg was a close run thing as well with the disqualification upgrading Ewan's 2nd place to a win and the bunch sprint almost not happening as the breakaway was caught inside the final kilometre.

The crashes almost caught out Ewan as well with three pile-ups in the last 40 kilometres splitting the field with Ewan getting tangled up in one and needing a bike change.
“I’m really happy with the victory,” said Ewan. “It was a very fast and tough sprint, I had to deviate from my line a bit and it’s always difficult to try and regain momentum after that.”

The diminutive sprinter had to avoid Bouhanni after the Cofidis rider cut across his line with 100 metres to go with the race commissaries deciding that it was against the rules and disqualifying the Frenchman.

“It’s great to get a European win under my belt for this season," said Ewan, "it was an eventful day all round after suffering a puncture and then crashing twice although fortunately I landed on my feet both times.

“The whole team did a fantastic job in getting me back into the bunch after the crashes and they really were superb today.”

Sport director Matt White was pleased with the result and praised the work of the team and Ewan in a hard race.
“It was a very tough race,” said White. “The conditions were very difficult and we had half of the team go down in the crash with 15 kilometres to go before Luke Durbridge and Michael Albasini did some incredible work to bring us back.”

“The finale was also chaotic and Luka Mezgec and Daryl Impey fought hard to drop Caleb (Ewan) off in great position to contest the sprint.

“Caleb is a deserved winner today, he did fantastically well to avoid the crash with 300 metres to go and finished off the good work of the team brilliantly.

“Of course we are happy with the result, it’s the first win in Europe for Caleb this year after he started the season strongly in Australia. He was up against a top class field today and this win provides more valuable experience for him going into future races.”

As it happened

A wet and miserable morning welcomed the riders to the start line with a six-rider breakaway forming within the first hour of racing and quickly establishing a lead of around three minutes.

After 80 kilometres of racing their lead had swelled to over six minutes with the escapees beginning to work well together.

The situation remained the same for the next 50 kilometres with Lotto-Soudal controlling the front of the peloton.

Approaching the final 45 kilometres of the race the lead of the escapees had fallen to under three minutes with the peloton seemingly well in control of the situation.

With 25 kilometres to go, and the leaders at two minutes, attacks started to spring from the peloton with three chasers now in between the two groups.

A crash split the field inside the last 15 kilometres with the breakaway on the final ascent of the Waseberg around one minute ahead of the reduced bunch and Ewan needing a rapid bike change.

The attacks continued to fly into the finale with now only four leaders out front at 40 seconds going into the last five kilometres and Dimension Data leading the chase, trying to set the race up for another Aussie, Mark Renshaw.

The leaders were finally caught with one kilometre to go and Katusha and Trek-Segafredo jumping to the front before another crash with 300 metres to go added to the chaotic end to the race.

Bouhanni won the ensuing sprint with Ewan avoiding the second crash and forced around the outside to take second place, however the judges deemed Bouhanni’s sprint illegal and Ewan claimed the victory.

It's not the first time this season that Bouhanni has been disqualified for getting an unfair advantage over an Orica-BikeExchange sprinter. 

During Paris-Nice he nearly put Michael Matthews into the barrier on Stage 2 with Matthews upgraded to the win there as well.

John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) was elevated to 2nd whilst Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) rounded out the podium with third.

Disappointment for Haussler

Australian Heinrich Haussler went into the race with big expectations and was hoping for a good result to push his name in front of teams looking to sign riders for next season.

“When I wanted to launch my sprint, the rider on my right veered into me when he launched his at the same time, said Haussler. "He touched my front wheel, and I effectively was stopped in my tracks."

"Luckily I did not crash.  But I won’t pretend: I am very disappointed. I had amazing legs. I trained extremely hard for this goal, and I failed.” 

The season is far from over for Haussler but with it getting later and later in the season, it will become harder to secure a World Tour spot for next year.

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