'I kinda think I won' - was Caleb Ewan robbed of victory in Belgian one-day race?

The Lotto Dstny rider lost out to Gerben Thijssen in a close photo finish call on Sunday

Caleb Ewan at GP Monseré 2023
(Image credit: Getty)

Caleb Ewan has called into question the photo finish decision that saw him place second at the GP Monseré on Sunday. 

The 1.1-ranked Belgian one-day race came down to a bunch sprint in Roeselare, contested on the line by the Lotto-Dstny rider and Intermarché-Circus-Wanty’s Gerben Thijssen. 

The sprint was so tight that it appeared the honours were initially given to Ewan. The Australian recorded a winner’s interview after the race, before the images were reviewed and Thijssen was declared the victor. 

Later that evening, Ewan tweeted a photo that seemed to show his front wheel crossing the line first. “I kinda think I won,” he wrote. “Thoughts?” 

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Among those who responded to the Australian's tweet was the newly-crowned Strade Bianche champion Tom Pidcock, who offered a simple eye-roll emoji. In 2021, the Brit lost out to Wout van Aert in an astonishingly close-called Amstel Gold Race, with Pidcock later saying the photo finish imagery "created more questions than have been answered".

Continuing to question the GP Monseré decision, Ewan went on to tweet a different angle of the sprint, again appearing to show him as the winner. “Here’s another one,” he wrote. “If anyone’s got a photo of big G clearly beating me it would actually make me feel a bit better to be honest.” 

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Although not initially shown on the race broadcast, the photo finish image later emerged online, but appeared heavily pixelated and inconclusive. According to UCI rules, photo finish equipment, including an electronic timing strip, is obligatory in all UCI road events, be that at WorldTour level or third tier 1.1 races. 

In a press release shared today, the organisers of the GP Monseré said they were "happy" with the race podium. 

The press release continued: "Understandably, a lot of attention afterwards went to the photo finish that was supposed to determine the winner. 

"As the organizer we have no responsibility for the organization of this finish line and the finish photo. This task should be done by the Belgian Cycling Federation and the UCI." 

Speaking after Sunday’s race, Ewan said: “Of course, it’s never nice to lose on a photo finish. This is disappointing but we keep on working to get that victory. I’ve been close a couple of times this season and I’m sure that the win is coming soon.”

The GP Monseré was not the first time this season that Ewan has lost out in a marginal sprint call. On the opening day of last month’s UAE Tour, he was forced to wait 15 minutes for a decision on his two-up battle with Soudal Quick-Step’s Tim Merlier, until the race jury ultimately adjudged the latter to have won by a hair’s breadth

The Australian’s next target will be Milan-San Remo, a race where he has placed second on two occasions, which is scheduled for 18 March. 

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