Ewan dominates Tour of Britain
Australian fastman dominates bunch gallops
Caleb Ewan dominated the sprints at the Tour of Britain last week but not without some controversy. The Australian sprinter won three of the race’s seven sprint stages, more than any of his rivals, against a strong field of sprinters that included fellow stage winners Dylan Groenewegen (Lottonl-jumbo), Elia Viviani (Team Sky) and Fernando Gaviria (Quick Step Floors).
However, the Orica-scott rider’s success was questioned by some as he had appeared to miss the time cut, along with three other riders, during the tour’s time trial on stage five. Team managers had been told that riders who were 20 per cent slower than the winner would be cut from the race but Ewan, who suffered with mechanical issues and had to use his standard road bike, was among those outside that mark, with a finishing time 21 per cent slower than winner Lars Boom’s winning time of 19.02.
He went on to take his third stage win the next day ahead of Gaviria.
Brian Holm, sports director at Quick Step Floors, said the decision was “strange” and that while rules such as not riding on a bike path — which got two riders ejected earlier in the race — were open to some interpretation, a time cut was “black and white”.
Holm said: “I just asked them for an explanation and they said he had a mechanical. A mechanical cost him four minutes? What did he stop for, a barbecue? Did they build him a new bike? Something is wrong here or they need a new mechanic.
“I told the commissaire before the start [of stage six] that if the break makes it to the finish it’s fine, but if he wins and we come second I have to complain because I have to tell my manager and my rider why he stayed in.”
Orica-scott sports director Matt Wilson said the 20 per cent time cut was “the lowest he’d ever seen in a time trial”. He added: “The commissaire can choose to increase the time cut whenever he sees fit. He thought the time cut was too short… so he increased it.”
Sweetspot race director Mick Bennett said the decision was “fair” and pointed out that Ewan had his sprint points docked, so he couldn’t win the points competition. He also admitted that the time cut had probably been too tight in the first place.
Ewan wins the stage six bunch sprint