Up and coming Australian sprint star Caleb Ewan (Orica GreenEDGE) lived up to the pre race hype by winning the People’s Choice Classic with a powerful burst to see off Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek Segafredo) and Adam Blythe (Tinkoff).
Over 95,000 people lined the Adelaide Streets to see the riders tackle the 30 lap, 51 kilometre course in the traditional curtain raiser to the Santos Tour Down Under.
It was Ewan’s fifth win of the year already, including taking out the Australian Criterium at the national championships and it’s that form that saw him start the race favourite.
Ewan’s teammates were content to sit and wait for the latter stages of the race before taking control of the peloton and setting their rising star up for an impressive victory.
Team Sky were the first team to show their hand, but ran out of numbers with a couple of laps remaining, handing control of the race to the Australian outfit and they took full toll of the opportunity.
After the race, Ewan admitted to some nerves saying “it’s always hard going into a race as favourite, especially when there is a top field here so I was probably more nervous for today more than any of the other races so far”.
When asked about how he felt about his Tour Down Under prospects, Ewan added “I’m delighted with this victory but I don’t see a more relaxed approach to the Santos Tour Down Under as we have some high ambitions to win GC and I have personal ambitions to win stages myself”
The Tour Down Under begins on Tuesday with Stage 1 taking the riders on a 130 kilometre journey from Prospect to Lyndoch.