• Caleb Ewan celebrates after sprinting to victory at the Scheldeprijs in 2020 (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
It will be no easy start to the 2021 WorldTour season for Caleb Ewan with the Aussie sprint king set to face-off against a field brimming with the world’s best sprinters at the season-opening UAE Tour.
SBS Cycling Central
21 Feb 2021 - 12:48 PM  UPDATED 21 Feb 2021 - 12:49 PM

Ewan, who won the points classification green jersey at the 2020 UAE Tour, will have his work cut out defending the title against sprint stars Sam Bennett, Giacomo Nizzolo, Fernando Gaviria and Pascal Ackermann who will be all gunning for a morale-boosting start to their season.

The cancellation of the Tour Down Under means this is the first time in Ewan’s professional career where he has not raced in Australia to start the season.

While it has been a different preparation for the year ahead, Ewan is feeling confident ahead of what he hopes is his biggest season yet.

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“Preparations for the new season have been quite good. It is the first time I stayed in Europe for the winter and I really had to get used to the cold. The training camp in January was perfect to lay the foundations for the season ahead," Ewan said.”

“The UAE Tour is generally the first race of the season where all the big sprinters come together. With for example Bennett, Ackermann, Gaviria, Nizzolo, Viviani, Bauhaus and Philipsen, the competition is definitely looking tough.
"Therefore, the UAE Tour is always a nice opportunity to test yourself against the other guys and see who’s going well and who’s not. Just like previous years, there are quite a few opportunities for the sprinters, so I am definitely looking forward to it."

The 26-year-old has set out to win a stage in all three Grand Tours this season and a win at the UAE tour would be the perfect confidence booster to start the campaign.

Joining Ewan at Belgian based Lotto-Soudal this season is fellow Australian rider Harry Sweeny who will make his WorldTour debut at UAE Tour.

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A graduate of Lotto-Soudal’s U23 program, Sweeny says he can’t wait to help his compatriot Ewan to a stage win or two.

"The UAE Tour should be a great race to get my first season as a pro started and I am really excited,” Sweeny said

"I think that I am versatile enough to help the team on both terrains. My role at the race will be to act as the second last or third last rider in the lead-out for Caleb, but it is only my first race as a pro.
“We’ll see how things play out. I definitely can’t wait to race."