The beast uncaged: Robbie McEwen's best year

In 2002 the star sprint Robbie McEwan wasted no time making a mark at his new team and, writes Chris Marshall-Bell, that was just the beginning

(Photo by Mike Powell/Getty Images)

(Image credit: Getty Images)

It was six in the morning when Christophe Sercu’s phone rang. “Walter?” the Lotto-Adecco manager wearily queried from his bed in Belgium to his director sportif Walter Planckaert. “Morning. Robbie won today.”

The same phone call repeated itself two days later. And the day after. Oh, and two days after that. Robbie McEwen’s first week riding with his new team had yielded a quartet of victories at the 2002 Tour Down Under in just six stages. “Walter rang me every morning from Australia saying that he won again,” Sercu says. “Every time it was so very early. So early. But he was having an impact already.”

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Chris Marshall-Bell

A freelance sports journalist and podcaster, you'll mostly find Chris's byline attached to news scoops, profile interviews and feature writing across a variety of different publications. He has been writing regularly for Cycling Weekly since 2013.

Previously a ski, hiking and cycling guide in a number of places, but mostly in the Canadian Rockies and Spanish Pyrenees, he almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.

He lives in Valencia, Spain.