• Caleb Ewan on the podium at the 2018 Milan-San Remo (Getty)Source: Getty
Caleb Ewan finished second to Vincenzo Nibali at Saturday's Milan-San Remo, an impressive result for the young sprinter.
Cycling Central

RCS Sport, Mitchelton-Scott
19 Mar 2018 - 12:49 PM  UPDATED 19 Mar 2018 - 1:38 PM

Mitchelton-Scott's press release used the phrase "devastatingly close," after Ewan almost caught the Italian who eluded the bunch from the Poggio.  

Noone is tougher on themselves than an athlete, especially when they're self aware, and Ewan knew he was capable of more. 

"I came here in good form, so of course I am a bit disappointed with second place. I know it is still a massive result to finish in second place but to be so close to the win is a little bit disappointing."

Ewan himself also summed up the situation nicely when he acknowledged it wasn't all about him. 

"Vincenzo Nibali was the strongest today."

"To be honest I was just thinking of doing my own sprint and if we caught Nibali, we caught him, if we didn’t, we didn’t so I was just focusing on my sprint as there were still good sprinters there and I knew it would be tough to beat those guys.

“My team put me in a good position on both the Poggio and Cipressa so I did need to fight too much. After this year I know I can potentially win this race so I can come back next year and the year after and try to win.”

But Ewan's second says so much more than the disappointment he is feeling. It's an announcement that he's ready for the big races. 

With almost 300 kilometres in the legs, the 23-year-old outsprinted the likes of 2016's winner, Arnaud Demare (FDJ) plus Alexander Kristoff (UAE), Jurgen Roelandts (BMC), world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and compatriot, 2017 Tour de France maillort vert Michael Matthews (Sunweb). Last year's Milan-San Remo winner Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky) finished 11th. 

Mitchelton-Scott's head sports director Matt White said Ewan and the team rode perfectly. 

"It was an incredible team effort, a very very long day for everyone. I think our guys rode with a lot of composure and used their racing nous to put our key guys into position when they needed to be. 

"It is always hard if you come off the Poggio with any kind of gap and it is very very hard to bring back, particularly Vincenzo the class bike rider that he is, and we came up just a little bit short.

"It was about shutting stuff down and if Trentin had bridged to Nibali then it would have been a good situation for us regardless. He didn’t make it but slotted back in and did all he could to bring it back for Caleb. Then Daryl put Caleb in a very good position for the sprint and then Caleb did his thing and was the best of the rest.

"Caleb has come a long way since he’s been on the team and for his second appearance in San Remo to come so close. Sure he will be frustrated, all winners are, and we came here to win today but we did all that we could. I think in a couple of days he can appreciate that it is his first time on the podium of a monument and certainly not his last."

More on Cycling Central:
Tan Lines: The Shark's sangfroid
Composure under the highest pressure has benefitted Vincenzo Nibali throughout his decade-and-a-half pro career - to the point that he must now be considered the most complete rider around, writes Anthony Tan.
Niewiadoma secures Trofeo Alfredo Binda victory with late escape
Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon SRAM) capitalised on a late solo attack to claim victory in the 2018 Trofeo Alfredo Binda.
Nibali claims a classic Milan-San Remo win
Vincenzo Nibali timed his move to perfection to claim the Milan-San Remo as he just held off the sprint specialists over 294km.