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.
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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