Ewan has three Giro stage wins to his name over his three previous starts at the race, and the Sydneysider is looking to add to that tally as he aims for his season goal of taking stage wins in all three Grand Tours. He is still yet to finish a Giro d'Italia, with other goals taking precedence over dragging himself over the mountains to the race finish in Milan.
"I already said that my goal this year was to win a stage in all three Grand Tours and that's still my objective," said Ewan in the pre-race press conference. "It is not easy to – if you want to win a stage in each Grand Tour – to also finish all three of them.
"In the first ten days of the Giro, there are already several opportunities. So, if I could win one of them, we have to evaluate what the best preparation for the Tour de France is. If I'm not feeling 100 per cent then I don't think I'll finish but I'll try to win a stage first and then go from there."
Ewan cast his eye over the sprint contenders and their leadouts and predicted that the lack of a team to control things would result in a lot of messy sprints.
"It makes the sprints a little bit more chaotic because most guys only have two or three guys to lead them out," Ewan said. "All those guys will be waiting until the last minutes to do their lead out because you can't start from 10 kilometres out with three guys. If there's a lot of teams trying to do the same thing, then it's going to be chaotic. Looking down the teams, I don't see a team with a super-strong lead out."
That also extends to Ewan's Lotto Soudal squad, which hasn't been able to impose itself at the front of sprint finishes to put Ewan in the perfect position to launch for the win consistently
"I've got my main guys with me but it's hard to start getting organised really early on when you only have a few guys to help, and I think a lot of other sprinters are in the same," said Ewan. "I think there's quite a lot of good guys here. You have Elia Viviani, Fernando Gaviria, Dylan Groenewegen, Tim Merlier, Giacomo Nizzolo. Maybe I forgot some, but those guys are the main ones. I think it's quite a good sprint field."
Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) is making his return to the peloton after his nine-month suspension for cuasing the crash that saw Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-QuickStep) suffer horrific injuries that saw the young Danish sprinter placed in an induced coma. Groenewegen and Ewan have built a rivalry over the years with some very tight finishes in the biggest races and the Australian was interested in seeing his return to racing.
"Before Groenewegen got suspended, he was amongst the world's best sprinters so it will be interesting to see at what level he returns," said Ewan. "And then there's always Peter Sagan to keep an eye on. On paper, there are some six sprint opportunities, depending on how the race unfolds of course.
"I might be one of the big favourites amongst the fast guys, but that doesn't mean I'll easily win each sprint. If any sprinter I just mentioned is on a good day, they can for sure beat me. In addition, finishes at the Giro are often quite technical and you also need a decent amount of luck."
Ewan has a stage win at the UAE Tour and a second at Milan-San Remo under his belt so far in 2021, and will be one of the favourites in each and every sprint stage for the race.
The Giro d'Italia will be broadcast live and free on SBS VICELAND and streamed on SBS On Demand from May 8-30. The toughest race in the most beautiful place will illuminate your screens for the month of May!