• Caleb Ewan (L) and Simon Gerrans (R) (Getty)Source: Getty
Seven years ago an Australian pulled on the yellow jersey in Nice at the Tour de France, and history may repeat itself in 2020, as Caleb Ewan will get a chance to pull on the famous 'maillot jaune'.
By
SBS Cycling Central

28 Aug 2020 - 2:56 PM 

A sunny day in Nice in 2013 saw Orica-Greenedge motor to a team time trial victory, propelling Australian Simon Gerrans into the yellow jersey for a two-day stint, before passing it on to teammate Daryl Impey.

It won't be that same sun that welcomes another Tour de France leader's jersey for Australia, storms are predicted for Saturday in southern France, but it does look like a great opportunity for Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) to take the first yellow jersey of the race.

It's not exactly a nailed-on sprint finish, with two category 3 ascents of the Côte de Rimiez, 5.8 kilometres at 5.1 per cent, a test for riders without much race form. The final climb peaks with 59 kilometres remaining and should allow the peloton plenty of time to reel in any early breakaway.

"Obviously the stage isn't going to be a straightforward sprint stage," said Ewan. "It's a hard day, I think the benefit for the sprinters is there is a lot of time to come back even if you do get dropped on the climb. There is a lot of time to come back in the valley, and usually at this time of year in the valley, there's a headwind, so that also makes it a bit easier to come back.”

Ewan is a local to the area, based out of Monaco, barely further than a coffee ride from Nice. The Australian sprinter is well aware of the roads around the area.

"It really depends on how it's raced on the climbs and if there's a team that really wants to split it, it's going to be hard for us," said Ewan. "I think there are good sprinters here with strong teams and that always helps. I hope that it's going to stay together for a bunch sprint."

Ewan's main opponents for the opening yellow jersey are fellow sprinters Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Giacomo Nizzolo (NTT Pro Cycling), Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe) and Bryan Coquard (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept). However, there have only been a few lead-up races for the sprinters since the season restart and it's hard to establish much of a formline coming into the 2020 edition of the Tour de France.

Coverage of Stage 1 of the Tour de France begins tonight at 9.00pm AEST on SBS On Demand, SBS HD and the ŠKODA Tour Tracker. Full stage details here for every stage broadcast