The 22-year-old Australian, who won in the town famous for its trulli homes, already won a stage in the Vuelta a España in 2015. In Italy he left Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors), Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) and André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) in his wak
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“I think it’s every cyclist dream to go to the Tour, I want to keep working towards that and I hope to one day do well there too,” Ewan said.
“I don’t think I’ll consider myself the best just yet, but I think I’m definitely working towards it.
“I’ve beat a few good guys here today, and earlier this year I did that as well. It’s a work in progress. Hopefully, I can soon be a guy who’s going for the sprints in all the Grand Tours.”
Ewan won the bunch sprint for second place on day one when Lukas Pöstlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe) slipped away for the stage win. The close calls, also in stages two and three, became frustrating.
“I came in to the Giro with a lot of expectations and I wanted to win a stage, but I had some bad luck and it was frustrating,” he added. “That pressure was building and building, that’s why it was big relief to take this victory. There’s no better way to pay back your team-mates.”
The win comes in his second attempt in the Giro d’Italia. Last year, he placed second in stage 12 before he pulled out ahead of the big mountains.
“After all the bad luck he had here, but we knew hew as clearly one of the fastest guys here. If he has a perfect run to the final, he’s the fastest,” said lead-out man Luka Mezgec.
“He was thinking too much about all his failures, but kept his head up. Today’s win will boost his confidence. Also for the lead-out train… When a sprinter begins to trust you it’s easier in the final, if there’s failure, he sometimes goes his own way.”
Mezgec said the next logical step is the Tour de France. Ewan will have to wait until at least 2018 to compete against Mark Cavendish and the other sprinters because Orica is supporting a general classification team with Simon Yates and Esteban Chaves this July.
“Yes, but the next logical step is another stage here. For sure the Tour de France is a goal of his,” sports director Matt White said.
“He’s physically more capable now than last year, and that’s natural, he was 21 last year. We know he’s fast, he’s won many races when he’s fresh and it’s short. Now, this is a long stage and people are tired, a year ago he couldn’t do that.”
“It’s my second Grand Tour stage win after my first one in the Vuelta,” Ewan continued. “With the sprint field here, it’s probably my biggest [victory].
“After the early frustrations in this Giro, I don’t think a win ever felt so good. I really enjoyed it.”