Caleb Ewan is looking to become only the fourth rider ever to win a stage at all three Grand Tours in a single year and has now announced his early season races that he will ride as a warm-up.
Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) announced that he would go for this record earlier in the year but has only now confirmed what races he will be attending as a build-up for his first Grand Tour hit out at the Giro d’Italia in May as he looks to be added to the list of Miguel Poblet (1956), Pierino Baffi (1958), and Alessandro Petacchi (2003), who all achieved the feat.
The Australian sprinter will start off his racing year at the UAE Tour where he will go up against some of the world’s fastest riders like Sam Bennett (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) and Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe).
After that he heads to Italy for Tirreno-Adriatico before starting a short Classics campaign at Milan-San Remo and then the ‘sprinter’s Classic’ of Scheldeprijs before heading to the Giro.
You would imagine that riders like Eddy Merckx or Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) would have got this record, but they never managed it.
Ewan’s ambition could be a new aim for the sprinters to battle over, as the time triallists have the Hour Record and the climbers have never-ending lists of records to chase, but the sprinters don’t have many long-term challenges aside from Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) extending his green jersey record at the Tour.
Ewan currently has nine Grand Tour stage wins with five at the Tour, three at the Giro, and just the one at the Vuelta. He will be hoping that the Vuelta is a bit kinder than usual to the sprinters after the first stage of last year’s race was a summit finish.
The likelihood of him beating the most wins in the record though is unlikely as Petacchi won a very impressive 15 stages over the three races around Italy, France, and Spain.