Caleb Ewan and his quest to return to his fastest
After a rough and tumble 2022, Australia's fastest sprinter determined to hit top of sprinting hierarchy.
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ADELAIDE, Australia (VN) — Caleb Ewan is using this week’s Santos Tour Down Under to put his best and fastest foot forward for a new season.
The Aussie speedster is setting a very high bar for 2023 after what was a rough and tumble 2022 campaign that saw him blanked in the grand tours for the first time since his debut win at the 2015 Vuelta a España.
For 2023, Ewan is aiming for cycling’s “bigs,” with targets on the monuments, the Tour de France, and the road worlds.
Big stuff for a rider who couldn’t quite find his top gear in 2022.
“I am really motivated to get results in the biggest races,” Ewan said. “My goals will mostly be the same as other years: Milano-Sanremo, several Belgian classics, the Tour de France, and the worlds.”
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Ewan, 28, is turning the page on 2022, a season marred by high-profile crashes that knocked him out of the fast lane at both the Giro and Tour.
Adding salt to the wounds was a snub to be part of the Australian selection at the “home” road worlds at Wollongong along with seeing his Lotto Dstny team relegated out of the WorldTour, Ewan wants to focus on staying upright and getting back to winning races.
“It’s true that 2022 wasn’t my best season but still, I won seven races. I also had my share of bad luck,” he said. “But sometimes, you’re able to learn the most from those seasons. I learned my lessons and I am ready for next season.”
A win at the pre-Tour Down Under critérium set the tone. Ewan only wants more.
Pressure to deliver following an uneven 2022
Ewan knows that in the high-speed stakes of mass sprints, a rider is only as good as their last result.
At 28, Ewan is still among the fastest in the world. Yet after missing out on a grand tour win in 2022, the pressure is on to deliver.
Lotto Dstny (formerly Lotto Soudal) was relegated out of the WorldTour after the Belgian team fell short of the UCI points haul.
The team will still see starts in the Tour and the major monuments in 2023, meaning that Ewan will be at the start line in the races that count.
Now the pressure is there to deliver, both for himself and the team’s WorldTour future.
“The past year has been really stressful for everyone in the team. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it.” Ewan said. “I don’t think a lot will change. I can do my usual program and that is the most important thing.
“Of course, we need to make sure that we stay in the driving seat to choose our own races. But if we perform like the past season, there won’t be a problem,” he said. “That is why I am convinced that we will return to the WorldTour within three years.”
New engines for the leadout train
Lotto Dstny sees some backroom changes with the arrival of new management, while Jacopo Guarnieri arrives to bolster the team’s leadout train.
“There have been quite some changes. In the leadout but also in the rest of the team. I am positive about it,” Ewan said. “Guarnieri joining our leadout will have a big impact. I think he will add lots of experience we were maybe lacking.
“In terms of horsepower, I think we have had one of the strongest, if not thé strongest leadout for quite some time. But sometimes, we were struggling to get the most out of that horsepower,” he said. “With Jacopo Guarnieri, I think we can better organize ourselves.”
Belgian sprinting star Arnaud De Lie will see more chances, something Ewan said he’s fine with.
“It’s always nice to have more than one leader. One of us could get sick or crash and when he’s the only leader in the race, it’s difficult to change team tactics all of a sudden,” Ewan said. “If we’ll reach the final with two, we also have multiple options. I look forward to discovering what we can perform together.”
A win this week in Australia will see Ewan return to Europe with momentum.
Cabel Ewan’s 2023 racing schedule
Tour Down Under (January 17-22)
Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race (January 29)
UAE Tour (February 20-26)
Milano-Sanremo (March 18)
Classic Brugge-De Panne (March 22)
Gent-Wevelgem (March 26)
Dwars Door Vlaanderen (March 29)
Scheldeprijs (April 5)
Tour de France (July 1-23)