It was not the result Caleb Ewan envisaged in his Tour de France debut especially considering the diminutive 24-year-old Australian “had the legs to win” and take both the Stage 1 victory and the first maillot jaune of the race.
“I think I definitely had the legs to win and I'm pretty disappointed that I couldn't use my full sprint today," admitted Ewan after finishing a not-so-distant third behind six-time points winner Peter Sagan (BORA-Hansgrohe) and unexpected stage victor Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma) subbing for teammate Dylan Groenewegen, who crashed with a kilometre to go.
"I was boxed in. I couldn't get out in the end. I had to stop pedalling,” he continued. “That’s sprinting. It happens sometimes. Like I said, I'm disappointed because I couldn't get out because I definitely think I had the legs to win.”
Ewan, who has six stage wins on the season, including two at the Giro d’Italia in May and one late last month at the ZLM Tour in Holland, opened up his sprint with 200 metres to go, but quickly found himself blocked by Sagan and Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida).
The hesitation cost Ewan not only the stage, but also a guaranteed day in yellow — both of which he claimed were “a goal, hope and a dream” during a pre-race presser posted by Lotto Soudal.
"We came into the race to win," claimed Ewan, who was forced to settle for the white jersey denoting the best young rider. "We were going for the yellow jersey. I'm disappointed because I think I had the legs to win today.”
With his most opportune chance to wear yellow now behind him, Ewan is confident other chances for victory await.
"For sure, there's other sprints coming up," said Ewan. "The positive signs are that my legs feel good so I think I can definitely I go for a stage win in this Tour."