Caleb Ewan said it was an ‘all or nothing’ sprint as he took his first WorldTour stage victory of 2019 at the UAE Tour.
The Australian powered past rivals on his way to the top of the 17 per cent Hatta Dam climb.
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Ewan’s win in the Middle East is redemption, after he was stripped of victory at the Tour Down Under last month for headbutting in the final.
Speaking after stage four of the UAE Tour, the 24-year-old Lotto-Soudal rider said: “I was in really good position at the bottom of it and I guess I was a man on a mission. I felt good sprinting up there.
“I knew the team were backing me to get up there today and there wasn’t anyone else in the team wanting to go for victory, so it was all or nothing for me.”
Ewan has never ridden the brutal 400m ascent near the Oman border, but said he suspected it could suit his combination of size and power.
Trek-Segafredo’s Matteo Moschetti looked to be making a break as the riders hit the final bend, but Ewan paced his effort and went well clear to take the win.
He said: “A lot of the guys I was sprinting against were 80 kilos plus and I’m 67 kilos. I’m probably a lot smaller than a lot of them and I guess my power to weight ratio is better for when the climb is 17 per cent.
“I knew coming into this tour that this could potentially suit me well. It’s hard to tell on TV how steep it really is. It is pretty steep.
“Looking back at the guys that have won before, it’s really more like climber sprinters that do well here.”
The Hatta Dam stage was not the first time this season Ewan has crossed the line first in a WorldTour event however.
He won stage five of the Tour Down Under last month, but was later relegated for head-butting Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates).
Ewan said: “It was pretty annoying getting the relegation, but I think if I could take a positive out of that, I still won the bunch kick with all those good guys there.
“I still could take confidence out of that, I just don’t have that win to my name.
“It’s nice to officially get a WorldTour win.
“You don’t really get much bigger than that, so I’m happy with that stage.”