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Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) may not have more than 10 days left at this year’s Giro d’Italia after the Australian confirmed that he would be leaving the race ahead of the serious mountain stages, and stage 5 to Messina represents a chance for the sprinter to finally open his account at the race.
Ewan crashed on stage 1 just as the uphill sprint for the line began to open and then found himself well and truly out of position on stage 3 when Mark Cavendish claimed the stage.
After surviving his earlier fall on day one and coming through the first mountain test to Etna, Ewan has his sights firmly set on stage 5. The road to Messina is far from straightforward with a second category climb in the middle of the route.
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Should some decide to take the race on from there, it’s possible that a number of sprinters are easily distanced. There are around 70km from that point to the finish, leaving the door open for the peloton to reform, so the trickiest part for Ewan is likely to come down to navigating the intricate and technical finale.
“I feel pretty good. Yesterday was quite tough but I like it as we get further into a grand tour and everyone’s legs are a bit more tired. I feel like that’s when I start to sprint better,” Ewan said at the start of the stage,” he said.
Ewan was asked about stage 3 after he was boxed in just as Cavendish and his Quick-Step team took control.
“I didn’t really get to go up against him, I was too far back but we learned from our mistakes there that we definitely need to be closer to the front in that last kilometer. We knew that already but hopefully today we’ll get it right,” the Australian said.
“It’s quite technical with quite a few uphills and downhills through the towns. If you’re in a good position it will be easier to stay in a good position but if you’re in a bad position then it’s going to be harder to move up.”