The Australian beat Sam Bennett to victory in the prelude circuit race of the Tour Down Under
Orica-Scott’s Caleb Ewan made it two out of two at the People’s Choice Classic, as he took victory in the 2017 race on Sunday to add to his victory in 2016.
The Australian national criterium champion sprinted well clear of his rivals in the final run to the line of the 50.6km criterium race, with only Ireland’s Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) able to make a late surge for the line to take second.
22-year-old Ewan benefited from a dedicated team which lead him around the entirety of the course, and still had more support riders than rival teams’ sprinters as the race rounded the final bend.
Watch: People’s Choice Classic 2017 highlights
World champion Peter Sagan did his best to setup Bennett for the win, but as Ewan was dropped off by a teammate on the front of the bunch on the left side of the road, there was nothing anyone was able to do and he powered his way to a second victory.
The rest of the race had been a fairly sedate affair. Neo-pro Ben O’Connor (Dimension Data) got away into the break with Will Clarke (Cannondale-Drapac) on lap three and admirably continued on his own with a massive solo effort until lap 19 of 22, when he was inevitably caught.
The riders will now take a rest day tomorrow before the Tour Down Under race proper begins on Tuesday with a 145km route from Unley to Lyndoch that should end in a sprint.
People’s Choice Classic 2017
1. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-Scott, in 1-03-41
2. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe
3. Peter Sagan (Slo) Bora-Hansgrohe
4. Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
5. Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
6. Mark Renshaw (Aus) Dimension Data
7. Sean De Bie (Bel) Lotto-Soudal
8. Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin
9. Patrick Bevin (Aus) Cannondale-Drapac
10. Jasha Sutterlin (Ger) Movistar, all same time