• Four sprint stage and four wins for Caleb Ewan at the Santos Tour Down Under. (Getty)Source: Getty
Aussie sprint sensation Caleb Ewan has downplayed his chances of being selected for the Tour de France this season, citing his team’s increasing orientation around general classification.
Sophie Smith

Cycling Central
23 Jan 2017 - 7:46 AM 

Ewan was the celebrated fast-man of the Santos Tour Down Under, marking a clean sweep of the four sprints on offer at the six-stage race with a gleaming return of confidence.

The performance led race winner Richie Porte (BMC) to claim the national criterium champion could win “three to four” Tour stages if sent, although the debut may be delayed.

Porte cruises to TDU title as Ewan wins the finale
Richie Porte confirmed his first career Santos Tour Down Under overall victory as Caleb Ewan again proved unbeatable on the final stage of the 2017 race.

“I would like to see myself in the Tour de France as well but it is hard with the expectations of having a serious GC contender and me going for sprints,” Ewan said.

“You pretty much have to go full gas for a sprint or a GC, and with a guy like Esteban [Chaves] and the Yates’ [Adam and Simon] in the team, who have already podiumed at Grand Tours, it is going to be hard to take a sprint train for me.”

Ewan’s success in Adelaide was an important boost of confidence for the 22-year-old, who admitted he endured a slump of self-belief in Europe last year. Home roads have always been a happy stomping ground, but the 2015 Vuelta a España stage winner is yet to really make a firm impression on the continent.

“I think as a sprinter, [confidence] is something you really need. I felt in the middle of last season that I was lacking confidence a bit and hesitating in the sprints a lot. That caused me to get boxed in and I wouldn’t really be able to open up my sprint,” he said.

“I think here you could see that with the confidence that I have, I am really relaxed and I am able to open up my sprint.”

Ewan was particularly impressive in the third stage to Victor Harbor where he surged late from around 10th wheel to take the win.

“I learned to stay calm this week when things might not have gone the way I wanted them to,” he said. “Because I knew that I had good form and didn’t need that much room to get past my rivals, I stayed calm, waited for those gaps to open and went through them.

“Both Richie and I are pretty proud to have won all the stages here at the tour. To win in front of a home crowd is a plus.”

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