Two podiums in three Tour de France road stages has impressed Caleb Ewan’s Lotto-Soudal boss John Lelangue, who remains convinced there is plenty more to come from the Aussie sprinter.
“We can be really happy to be in the top three,” said Lelangue after Ewan’s third place in Nancy on Tuesday on stage four, and was bullish about the coming weeks: “I am totally confident we are going out of the Tour with a few victories.
“There is only one winner — but we have been two times on the podium with him. They were there with five guys, we’re doing a job and we’ll continue to do so.”
After a low-key year in 2018 with Mitchelton-Scott, 24-year-old Ewan moved to the Belgian team and seems to have recovered his mojo: he won twice at the Giro d’Italia in May and took two further podiums along the way, and going into the Tour he certainly ranks among the fastmen to watch.
Lelangue dismissed any suggestion that Ewan was missing something in the final, saying: “No, it’s the Tour, it’s going full speed, we’re here in the best race in the world with the best sprinter of the world… You need to have a little bit of luck also but till 1.2, 1.3 K to go we were going well and then they lost each other a little bit. Those little seconds you’re losing there you lose 10 positions and those 10 positions you have to regain them. It’s a non-useful effort.”
This year’s Tour de France isn’t exactly laden with cut-and-dried sprint finishes, but Lelangue was quick to point out that the Lotto was far from a one-trick pony.
“We have other objectives,” he said. “We have Tim [Wellens], we have Thomas [De Gendt], we have Max [Montfort] we have Tiesj Benoot. I think these two stages in the Vosges are more for offensive, aggressive breakaways so we’ll try for two days like this and then we’ll re-concentrate on the next sprint.”
Asked whether he thought a breakaway could succeed in stage five’s 175km hill-fest from St-Dié to Colmar he replied: “For sure no. But we will try!”