Mon, May 20, 2019 - Page 10 News List

Ewan ends run of near-misses to win Giro stage sprint

AFP, PESARO, Italy

Lotto-Soudal rider Caleb Ewan celebrates as he finishes first in stage eight of the Giro d’Italia, 239km from Tortoreto Lido to Pesaro, on Saturday.

Photo: AFP

Australia’s Caleb Ewan on Saturday celebrated wildly after storming a bunch sprint to win stage eight of the Giro d’Italia after coming close to victory three times already in the opening week.

Chief contenders for overall Giro victory — Britain’s Simon Yates, form favorite Primoz Roglic, Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali and Colombian climber Miguel Angel Lopez — all finished in the bunch with the same time on the run from Tortoreto Lido to Pesaro.

Italy’s Valerio Conti of UAE Team Emirates, who took the pink jersey on stage six, remains in the overall lead for a third day.

Lotto-Soudal’s Ewan of Lotto-Soudal Team produced an astonishing burst of power to relegate Elia Viviani of Deceuninck-Quick-Step to second and Bora-Hansgrohe’s Pascal Ackermann, who has two wins on this Giro, to third.

“I have a lot of pressure to win races and to win here means the absolute world to me,” said Ewan, who had finished in the top five on three occasions in the first seven stages of this year’s Giro.

The day was marked by two powerful rollers launching a sustained long-range break from the opening minutes with Marco Frapporti and Damiano Cima spending 200km out in front.

However, Ewan’s team had spent much of the day keeping tabs on their long range escape, signaling their intent and the powerfully built Sydneysider was overcome with emotion after several near misses so far.

“We have been trying to win every day and I’m happy to repay the team,” said the visibly relieved Ewan, nicknamed the Pocket Rocket. “I wasn’t feeling that good, so I waited and had a good kick and came round them [Akermann and Viviani].”

This was Ewan’s second stage win on the Giro, two years after his first, and he had a Vuelta a Espana win in 2015, but has yet to clinch a Tour de France win.

Ackerman admitted that he was roundly beaten by a stronger man.

“He looked really strong. You can see how strongly he accelerated in the sprint. Caleb was the strongest today,” he said.

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