‘Just keep sprinting, just keep sprinting, just keep sprinting…’
Surely that’s the mantra Orica-Scott’s Caleb Ewan was repeating over and over as he bunked down in the team hotel in Abu Dhabi last night.
Moments prior to the finish of Stage 2 of the Abu Dhabi Tour, Caleb was up there sprinting alongside the two fastest men of this generation – Mark Cavendish of Team Dimension Data and Marcel Kittel of Quick Step Floors.
Clearly more powerful than Cavendish, winner of Stage 1 and the race ambassador, Ewan was a wheel in front and looked able to hold it forever.
Sensing victory, 22yo Ewan made the biggest of mistakes, one he will learn from and one, some will say, he needed to make. Taking his hands from the bars he celebrated early. While doing so, he was pipped at the line by a fast-flying Marcel Kittel.
‘An Embarrassing Moment’
Taking it on the chin, Ewan told reporters it was an embarrassing moment.
“Now I have to go back to my team and explain what I did,” after being awarded the White Jersey for best young rider.
“I’m usually good at sprinting all the way to the line but he was coming with a fair bit of speed and I didn’t quite see him coming. It was a massive rookie mistake on my part.”
Ewan Strongest On The Day: Cavendish
A gracious Mark Cavendish said Ewan was the strongest sprinter on the day.
“Today, in all honesty, without taking anything away from Marcel, Caleb was the strongest and I couldn’t match him,” he told reporters. “I knew when we turned right with on kilometre to go into a block head finish that I was a bit too far forward and it was going to be a hard sprint into the headwind.”
Kittel Saw things differently and said the team plan was to “leave it late”.
“It was a strange finale and I surfed from wheel to wheel, saving up some energy,” he said.
“I really believed in this victory until the very end and getting it the way I did makes things very nice.”