Lauded Australian talent Caleb Ewan is gaining in confidence ahead of his eagerly anticipated rookie pro debut in Europe claiming a second consecutive stage victory at the Herald Sun Tour today.
It was a case of deja vu for the 20-year-old who best Tyler Farrar and Steele von Hoff in a bunch sprint at the end of stage three, which featured the same finish as that of the previous day in Nagambie, Victoria.
Ewan has barely started his first season as a professional however still has a notable level of expectation on his shoulders in lieu of a talent and innate drive that even before a stagiaire role at Orica-GreenEdge last year had cycling circles talking.
Sports director Matt White has set the target for the 2015 season at five UCI wins and Ewan’s early success, which has also included title honours at the Bay Cycling Classic criterium series and a silver medal at the Australian national road championships last month, is important to that campaign.
“If you can get a few wins before you even get over to Europe it gives you a lot more confidence during the year and takes a lot of the pressure off you,” Ewan said.
“It’s stressful the whole day when you know you have to be up there for the win, and to cross the line first is relief I guess.”
It was the same result on the same finish today but Ewan embraced a different tactic in the frenetic final. On Friday he was the first to launch his sprint out of the bottom corner, finishing about a length ahead of von Hoff, and today came around his rivals, which he prefers.
“I don’t know what my heartrate was today but I know yesterday in the sprint it was 203 so it’s definitely not easy,” he said.
Orica-GreenEdge staff have also noted the importance of confidence to Ewan’s development opting not to select him for the Tour Down Under last month. He will travel to the Tour of Langkawi next with a crack support team including Leigh Howard and Adam Blythe.
“They’re obviously guys who can win sprints themselves so I think if I get a good lead-out train there we’ll probably be unbeatable,” Ewan said. “Langkawi will be a perfect race for us to learn how to ride together and hopefully we can go through the rest of the year together and try to get some more wins.”
Ewan’s team-mate Cameron Meyer leads the Herald Sun Tour ahead of tomorrow’s fourth and final stage at Arthurs Seat. Great Britain’s Scott Davies is 28 seconds adrift of the race leader in ninth overall.
Ewan will support an in-form Meyer tomorrow with Langkawi and Europe not far from his measured mind.
“I’d love to get a WorldTour win,” he said. “It’s a big ask for a first year pro but that would be a dream for my first year.”