Australian sprinter Caleb Ewan has won the sixth and final stage of the Tour Down Under with his Orica-GreenEdge team-mate Simon Gerrans claiming a career fourth race title.
Ewan easily cruised to victory at the end of the 90km criterium in Adelaide, South Australia, besting Mark Renshaw (Dimension Data), Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) and Adam Blythe (Tinkoff) for line honours.
“It wasn’t just a good week for me, the team showed this week they were by far the strongest,” Ewan said after what was his second stage win of the event.
“It was always going to be hard going into the race with two ambitions of trying to win sprint stages and also the GC with Simon but I think we did it perfectly and I’m so happy we came away with four stage wins and the overall.”
Ewan followed wheels in the closing metres positioning himself behind Ben Swift (Sky) and then launching his sprint first. No one was able to come around the 21-year-old, who is set to introduce himself properly to the Europe race circuit this season with a view to the Giro d’Italia.
“Ideally I wanted to be in the first maybe eight wheels but I was way back in the bunch and I had to dive in the inside of the corner,” he added. “I locked up a few times and it was a little bit sketchy but luckily I got into the position I wanted. My team came up in the end to help me and placed me behind Sky and that was the perfect place to be.”
A four man break became two with Thomas de Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) and Maarten Tjallingii (LottoNL–Jumbo) leading the race that inevitably came together within the final 10km.
Sky hit the front on the final lap of the 4.5km city circuit protecting Swift, who got swamped and settled for sixth.
International competitors had little luck at the race with Australians in Ewan, Gerrans, Jay McCarthy (Tinkoff) and Richie Porte (BMC) winning all available stages.
The victory for in-form Gerrans marked a turnaround on 12-months of crash-marred misfortune.
“We had a dream run this race,” he said.
“An Aussie team winning the only WorldTour race we have in Australia, the opening WorldTour race to the season is just awesome. Great way to start the season.”
Tour Down Under 2016, stage six: Adelaide, 90km
1 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge 1-55-02
2 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Dimension Data same time
3 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
4 Adam Blythe (GBr) Tinkoff
5 Aleksei Tcatevitch (Rus) Katusha
6 Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky
7 Marko Kump (Slo) Lampre-Merida
8 Davide Martinelli (Ita) Etixx-QuickStep
9 Leigh Howard (Aus) IAM Cycling
10 Wouter Wippert (Aus) Cannondale
Final overall classification
1. Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge 19-11-33
2 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing at 9secs
3 Sergio Henao (Col) Team Sky at 11secs
4 Jay McCarthy (Aus) Tinkoff at 20secs
5 Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale
6 Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Movistar at 28secs
7 Demnico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
8 Rafael Valls (Spa) Lampre-Merida at 36secs
9 Steve Morabito (Sui) FDJ at 49secs
10 Patrick Bevin (NZl) Cannondale