Another hit to Caleb at The Giro
Sardinia has been an amazing experience for most on the 100th Giro d’Italia, but not for the Orica Scott team, and specifically their gun sprinter Caleb Ewan.
A tactical mistake on stage one cost the dynamic young sprinter from Bowral a certain victory, and in stage 2, a mechanical in the final 200 meters cost him another.
The favourites preparing themselves for 221 kilometers of tough terrain. Picture: Vaz Juchim
Caleb could take over my nickname of “Iffy”, which I was named because I always had an excuse, but with Caleb, it is really tragic because stage wins in grand tours don’t come easy. But when you could have won two in a row, which would have delivered the privilege of wearing the leader’s Maglia Rosa and suddenly it’s ripped away from you – well that’s just devastating.
Hopefully when you are reading this article, you are celebrating the fact that Caleb has won stage 3 into Cagliari, as he has shown that he is the fastest man in this bike race.
The Australian Orica Scott team certainly missed out on a golden opportunity to be in the pink, on day one of this Giro last Friday.
As the race approached the final kilometers, the Aussie squad seemed to have it all under control, but a tight right hander, three kms from the finish changed all that. A crash caused panic and then chaos as the sprinters got separated from their lead out men.
As much as the sprinters complained afterwards, it was young Austrian Lukas Postlberger who snatched the advantage when he put the hammer down at 2km to go, trying to set the pace for his Bora Teammate Sam Bennett and found himself with a small lead. His teammate started screaming into the microphone to “go go go, you are clear” and go he did. Opening up a big enough gap to have time to sit up and celebrate this special occasion.
There were hugs, cheers, and huge celebrations among the Bora-Hansgrohe team, but it was pretty glum around the Orica Scott bus, because they all knew it should have been their man in the pink leader’s jersey.
Stage two from Olbia to Tortoli was 221 kilometers of super tough terrain, with hardly a flat bit of road. It was predicted to be too tough for the sprinters, but because of a strong head wind and a bit of nervousness in the peloton, the day turned out to be much easier than expected and a large group approached the finish together.
Orica Scott rode a smart race with the whole team contributing to put Caleb into the prime position into the final 300 meters. Just as Caleb made his move, young Colombian sprinter Fernando Gaviria did the same, and the two hit the front just ahead of eventual winner Andre Greipel. Gavira and Ewan clashed only fleetingly and, although it was completely untoward, it caused Ewan to move suddenly to his left and in that moment his foot came out of the pedal.
As the riders came into the final five kilometers, the atmosphere in the Orica Scott team bus was euphoric. With 250 meters to go, you could sense that young Caleb was on the verge of his first Giro victory and about to make amends for the devastation of the previous day. We were all glued to the TV footage when suddenly there was the vision of Caleb banging the bars in frustration and in the blink of an eye the mood amongst the crew and support team went from euphoria to bitter disappointment.
Picture: Vaz Juchim