The wait is over. Twelve months ago, Caleb Ewan watched the sprints of the Tour de France from his couch, mulling over his omission from Mitchelton-Scott’s selection for the race. The Australian’s entire season had been built around La Grande Boucle, but he found himself unceremoniously deemed surplus to requirements a little over a week before the race.
Officially, at least, Ewan was left out because Mitchelton-Scott wanted to focus on the general classification ambitions of Adam Yates, but it seems likely that his impending transfer to Lotto Soudal for the 2019 campaign had weighed just as heavily on the decision.
Even before he turned professional in 2015, Ewan had been touted as a Tour de France-calibre sprinter, but he had to bide his time patiently to fulfil that potential as the GreenEdge set-up steadily shifted its priorities towards the general classification at Grand Tours. Ewan won sprints at the Vuelta a España (2015) and the Giro d’Italia (2017), but was never given the nod in July, as Adam and Simon Yates developed into podium contenders.
Ewan’s Tour debut finally arrived this year, his first at Lotto Soudal. Buoyed by a brace of stage wins at the Giro, he set out from Brussels with justifiable confidence, but had to settle for near misses – second place in Chalon-sur-Sâone, third in Brussels, Nancy and Albi – before finally opening his account by pipping Jumbo-Visma’s Dylan Groenewegen in Toulouse on stage 11.
“It’s taken longer than I had hoped. If I’d had it my way, I would have done the Tour de France as a neo-pro but maybe, in the end, it was good I didn’t,” Ewan said.
“This shouldn’t have been my first Tour de France. I believe that I was ready three or four years ago. I’m always eager to go straight to the top and race at the highest level. I’ve been held back, but now finally I’ve got my chance and finally I could prove myself.”
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