Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) says the last two Giro d'Italia stage wins, the second coming on Wednesday in Novi Ligure, proves he is one of the best sprinters.
The small Australian opened the throttle after waiting as long as possible on the wheel of Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe). He came around in the headwind sprint just in time, celebrating in front of Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) and Ackermann.
"I have always considered myself one of the best sprinters," Ewan said. "Two successes in this Giro finally proves I'm right."
Ewan now leaves the Giro d'Italia, his first Grand Tour since 2017's Giro, when he won one stage. The two wins add to his one from the 2015 Vuelta a España.
He had developed in the Mitchelton-Scott team, but found himself crowded out by its Grand Tour classification ambitions with Adam and Simon Yates.
The Belgian Lotto-Soudal team signed him over the winter. Part of the agreement was that he would have a chance to debut in the Tour de France. With only one Giro sprint stage left, 18, in the middle of a mountain fest, Ewan left for his home in Monaco on Wednesday night.
"It means a lot, I came here hoping to get one stage win, and to come away with two I'm so happy and i think the team's happy as well," Ewan said.
He moved up in the points classification, which Démare now leads. However, he wants to rest to be ready for July.
"The points competition? No. You know the last week is really hard for me, with not many opportunities," he added. "I think it's better I take a rest and refocus on my next goal, the Tour de France."
Ewan closed out a 221-kilometre stage. It ran over three regions, Emilia-Romagna, Lombardy and Piedmont to finish outside Fausto Coppi's villa.
"I knew it was going to be a headwind sprint that's why I came from behind on Pascal's wheel," he continued.
"Usually those long sprints, three kilometres, one big line, doesn't suit me. Before the sprint, I told my team to get me to a wheel to sit on, they got me on Pascal's. I got to wait a few more seconds before I started my sprint into a headwind."
Thank you for reading 10 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1