Caleb Ewan waited for the rainbow. That’s a difficult thing to accomplish when you’re young and impetuous and incredibly fast.
On stage two of the Tour Down Under, Ewan put to use a delicate skill that most young sprinters are unfamiliar with: patience. After three 21k finishing circuits, he held his fire and waited until the World Champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) launch his sprint.
When the rainbow jersey finally went — on a long and slightly uphill finish that favored the Slovakian — it was Ewan who powered past, his slipstream even pulling his teammate Daryl Impey into second place. Sagan had to settle for fourth, just off the podium.
“I hid pretty well in the field,” said Ewan. “I’ve done this circuit before so I know where I can relax and when I need to be at the front. The boys did the same thing. We were relaxed when we could and went hard when we needed to.”
The stage’s uphill run was designed for a punchy sprinter — which made Ewan’s victory all the more surprising and impressive. “It was something we were all unsure about, whether I’d make it over the top,” he said. “The boys put me in a perfect position again, and this team backed me 100 per cent even though some results haven’t went perfect for us. So for them to back me on a stage that doesn’t even suit me, it means a lot.”
It says a lot about Ewan’s increasing maturity and confidence that he was able to relax and bide his time. An abundance of fast twitch fibers usually leads to impulsive behavior. Then again, it was a scenario that required both speed and patience.
Ewan took the oche jersey of race leader and leads the overall by 10 seconds over Impey and 12 seconds over Sagan and McCarthy.