Caleb Ewan latest rider to withdraw from Milan-San Remo with illness

The Australian has picked up a stomach flu, joining Jasper Stuyven, Julian Alaphilippe and Sonny Colbrelli on the sick bed

Caleb Ewan Milan-San Remo illness
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Caleb Ewan won't start at Milan-San Remo on Saturday March 19 after contracting an illness, Lotto-Soudal have confirmed.

The Australian rider approached the weekend full of confidence and as the bookies' second-favourite to win the race, behind Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), but he now won't participate in the Monument that has proved so elusive for him, having finished in second twice during his career. 

Lotto-Soudal's medical team and Ewan tried everything possible to ensure he entered the race fit, but in the end withdrawing was the only viable option.

In a statement, Ewan said: “I am very disappointed that I am not able to take the start of my main goal of the spring season. I was in good form and ready for a hard race, but like many other riders at the moment, I faced a stomach flu at the worst time. 

"Together with the team we had to decide that it is better to now focus on different goals.”

Ewan has already won three stage races this season, and finished second at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, but came into this week having abandoned Tirreno-Adriatico early. He placed full attention on winning Milan-San Remo this spring, but unfortunately for the 27-year-old, he will have to wait another year to achieve that goal. 

Prior to his withdrawal, Ewan expressed how confident he felt heading into the race, before highlighting his main rivals for the top step of the podium. 

He said: “From the beginning of this season, I have targeted Milan-San Remo as my main goal for this spring. The team has shown great confidence in my abilities to win this race. Let’s hope the race unfolds the way we want it to. It still is Milan-San Remo: lots of unforeseen things can happen. For me, that is also the beauty of the race.

“For me, [Tadej] Pogačar is the big favourite. Even if he does not win, he will have a big impact on how the race will play out. The same goes for Wout van Aert. Just look at those names: a multiple Grand Tour winner, a Classics’ winner and me, a sprinter, and we all have a possibility to win this race. That is why Milan-San Remo is my favourite Classic."

The Australian joins a host of other riders missing the Monument on Saturday, after more than half of the peloton abandoned Paris-Nice over the course of eight days due to sickness. Among them is reigning Milan-San Remo champion Jasper Stuyven, who is unable to defend his title at the weekend.

Meanwhile, world champion Julian Alaphilippe withdrew from the race earlier this week after coming down with a case of bronchitis, which is also affecting Paris-Roubaix winner Sonny Colbrelli. 

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Staff Writer

Ryan is a staff writer for Cycling Weekly, having joined the team in September 2021. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before making his way to cycling. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer.