Ewan dom­i­nates Tour of Bri­tain

Aus­tralian fast­man dom­i­nates bunch gal­lops

Cycling Weekly - - Contents - Vern Pitt

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

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