Aussie Focus

Ewan grinds to second Giro victory

Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) won Stage 7 of the Giro d'Italia, having to respond to a long-range move from Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) before sprinting to a convincing win.

104th Giro d'Italia 2021 - Stage 7

Caleb Ewan of Lotto Soudal celebrates at arrival during the 104th Giro d'Italia 2021, Stage 7 Source: Getty

The Australian sprinter was clearly the strongest on the slight uphill finish, covering a late move by Gaviria, passing the Colombian and extending his lead all the way to the finish line as he claimed his second victory of the 2021 edition of the Italian Grand Tour.

Davide Cimolai (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) completed the top three in a super technical and slightly uphill finish.

"I had all my guys there from a long way out because there were a few points in the last 10 kilometres we really needed to be in the front so we don't have to brake and we got a really good ride," Ewan said after the finish. "They did a really good job. The most important point for me was the start of the climb because if I got a free run through there and a good run up the climb then I save a lot of energy. If I had to come from far back it would have cost me a lot for my sprint. It was a super hard finish anyway."


Ewan was the first rider to react when Gaviria tried to catch his rivals unaware with the long sprint and the UAE rider opened up a brief gap as most of the sprinters were left to fend for themselves after the uphill run to the line had seen the leadout trains depleted.

"My legs were absolutely burning in the end because I was sprinting from 450m to go - it was a slight uphill - it was a tough one. If it was anyone else [Gaviria- ed] we would have waited a little bit but when he goes, he has the strength and speed to hold it. I had to do it tactically - I didn't want to accelerate super hard at the start, I left a gap a little bit, and around 200m to go I had a gap to run in and then I really accelerated."

Ewan had already met his pre-race goal of taking a win, taking out Stage 5 of the Giro with a stunning turn of speed. Today's victory was of a different kind, a longer grind to the line with Ewan looking a lot more assured to take the win, the fifth Giro d'Italia stage of his career.

"There's a lot more I want to do in cycling and I'm happy that every year I can come back here and still perform well," said Ewan. I hope it continues like this in the future and I'm always super motivated to get as many stages as I can."

It had been a relatively sedate stage up until the finale, the breakaway of Umberto Marengo (Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè), Simon Pellaud (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) and Mark Christian (Eolo-Kometa) was a familiar one, with Marengo and Pellaud already staples of early moves throughout this year's Giro d'Italia. The trio grew their advantage out to five minutes early in the race, but they were always kept in hand by the peloton.

An acceleration by BORA-hansgrohe for the intermediate sprint point saw Peter Sagan gain 5 points on his rivals for the cyclamen sprint points jersey.

The three escapees were hoovered up by the peloton with 17 kilometres left to go, setting up the finale of the race. With some steep pinches in the last few kilometres, all the sprint teams were keen to get their chosen sprinter into the foot of the harder sections in good position. Jasper de Buyst (Lotto Soudal) led Caleb Ewan out impressively, as an attack from Vincenzo Albanese (EOLO-Kometa) and Daniel Oss (BORA-hansgrohe) jumped clear with a kilometre left. 

As they were brought back, Gaviria launched his own move with 450 metres to go, more of a late attack than a long sprint with the slight uphill gradient reducing the momentum in the peloton. He immediately got a gap and Ewan had to abandon de Buyst's wheel to take up the chase himself, gradually building up his sprint until he shot past the Colombian to take another big win at the Giro.

The 2021 Giro d'Italia continues tonight with Stage 8, a 170-kilometre medium mountain stage that finishes with an uphill rise into Guardia Sanframondi. Watch all the action of SBS OnDemand from 2030 AEST, with coverage beginning on SBS VICELAND from 2120.

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4 min read
Published 15 May 2021 at 7:42am
By SBS Cycling Central
Source: SBS