Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) was the winner of the stage, the Belgian up near the front of the chaotic finale as UAE Team Emirates led out the final few hundred metres. Merlier launched and took the fastest line around the final bend to hold off Giacomo Nizzolo (Qhubeka-ASSOS) and Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) for his maiden Grand Tour win.
Behind, Ewan's leadout was fighting to get him onto the back of a small split that formed behind the front of the race, and when the sprint was launched the Australian swung off and didn't launch a full-blooded sprint. With no prospect of victory and no points jersey battle in the offing for the Australian, who is expected to leave the race before the finale in Milan to prepare for the Tour de France, only potential injury and the vain hope of a slightly higher finishing position were available.
Ewan said he was disappointed after the race, another in a season blighted by poor positioning in the finale where the Australian stood little chance before he got the chance to attempt a sprint.
“We came into the last two kilometres a little bit too far back and every time we tried to move up, there was some slight corner, so the bunch was always going from left to right. We were kind of blocked a lot of the time,” Ewan explained post-race. “In the crucial part in the last five hundred metres, we were just too far back and it was hard to sprint from the position I was in."
“It was a little bit disappointing to start like that but I think we can learn from the mistakes we made and go again tomorrow.”
Ewan said ahead of the race that he was keen to turn around his worst-ever start to a season, he's only taken one win to date, on Stage 7 of the UAE Tour. In that same interview, he said 'physically I'm feeling good, but results-wise it's been a pretty average start'.
The Syndeysider will be keen to turn around that trend in upcoming stages to maintain his ambition of winning a stage of every Grand Tour in 2021.
The Giro d'Italia continues on SBS with Stage 3, a hilly stage from Biella to Canale over 190 kilometres that offers opportunities for the climbing sprinters and attackers. Watch the race on SBS OnDemand from 2010 AEST, with the SBS VICELAND coverage starting at 2120.