Sprint King Caleb Ewan storms home for Debut Win with New Team in the New Year.
After a well documented tumultuous 2018, and a disappointing stage one at the Lexus Blackburn Bay Crits, Caleb EWAN has put it all behind him to claim his debut win in the colours of his new team Lotto Soudal.
His teammate Roger KLUGE, who also departed Mitchelton-Scott at the end of 2018, contributed a mountain of work to put Ewan in a wonderful position late in the race. Rival Brenton JONES (Lexus of Blackburn) suffered a late mechanical in the closing corners and was out of contention, paving the way for Heinrich HAUSSLER (MS All-Stars) and Marco HALLER (Katusha-Sport) to round out the podium.
"It feels good to get the year off to a great start and a win for my new team, Roger made it a little easier for me. He didn't even want to start today but I made him do it and I'm glad he did. This is the only race of the year that I can really ride aggressively and I think it makes it entertaining racing for all the fans".
"It's good to make up for yesterday and terrific to have that winning feeling again. It's a lot of change obviously this year ... it's probably the biggest change in my career so far. Last year was disappointing for me, so I really wanted to get this year off to a good start."
"It's so important to get that winning feeling back and hopefully it can continue on from here."
Superb conditions and tight racing at Ritchie Boulevard in Geelong saw the men's event become a war of attrition with the big name WorldTour riders forcing the pace early, and by the halfway mark the peloton consisted of just 19 riders.
Amongst the remnants Jay MCCARTHY (Novotel Geelong- City of Greater Geelong) Luke DURBRIDGE (Lexus of Blackburn), and HAUSSLER (MS All-Stars) all attacked consistently, before EWAN jumped off the front at the 41 minute mark of the hour long race. It took a few laps with Nathan HAAS (Katusha Sports) on the front of the chasers, for the race to come back together with riders legs burning.
HALLER (Katusha-Sport) maintains the Lexus Blackburn leaders jersey and the Gatorade Sprint ace title heading into the third and final day at Williamstown tomorrow.
In the women's event, CHLOE HOSKING (Lexus of Blackburn) claimed the honours on day two, setting up a three way battle for the overall title on the final day.
The Lexus Blackburn General Classification is now led by Hosking on 17 points, although defending champion Valentina SCANDOLARA (Roxsolt Attaquer) and individual rider and National Criterium Champion Rebecca WIASAK are both also on 17 points but without a stage win.
The 45 minute race saw early attacks from the Italian Scandolara and Wiasak, but the power of the Lexus Blackburn All-Stars ensured a win for the reigning Commonwealth Games champion.
"Ideally I wanted to go into the last corner at second wheel, so I stayed on the right and as soon as I saw her jump underneath me I knew it was on and it turned into a 200 metre sprint to the line. I really love racing at Geelong and the Bay Crits are a great way to start the season."
The Gatorade Sprint Ace title also belongs to Hosking who took key points on the technical 'hot-dog' criterium course.