Giro d’Italia: Caleb Ewan has three opportunities to prove he’s still up there, says Matt White

Aussie sprinter showing promising signs at Giro d'Italia but chances of another Grand Tour win are quickly running out

Clock18:00, Wednesday 15th May 2024
Caleb Ewan is chasing a sprint victory at the Giro d'Italia

© Getty Images

Caleb Ewan is chasing a sprint victory at the Giro d'Italia

Caleb Ewan (Jayco AlUla) hoped to reignite his Grand Tour sprinting career at the Giro d’Italia this May but the Australian has been on the periphery of the action so far with just one top-ten to his name after 11 stages of racing.

And time is running out for the 29-year-old, with potentially three sprint stages remaining between Fano on stage 12 and Rome on May 26. The winner of 11 Grand Tour stage wins in a glittering career that includes over 60 pro victories remains the focal point of the team’s sprint ambitions, with the Australian squad backing the rider to deliver before the race concludes.

“It was a big goal and he wanted to prove that he’s still got it,” Jayco’s director of high performance and racing, Matt White, told GCN.

“It’s not over yet and I can envisage three more sprint stages. He will be disappointed and frustrated, as all the sprinters are who aren’t winning, but he has three opportunities to prove that he’s still up there with the fastest men in the world.”

Ewan re-joined Jayco-AlUla after four years at Lotto-Soudal and he hoped that the return to his roots would kick-start his career after a period of stagnation in Belgium. He began the season with a win, taking victory in the national criterium championships, and followed that with another win at the Tour of Oman. He missed Milan-San Remo through illness but lined up as one of many potential stage winners in an incredibly deep sprint field at the Giro.

He finished sixth on stage 5 to Lucca and then picked up 11th on stage 11 into Francavilla al Mare. There were some positive signs on Wednesday with his team gelling in the finale but a hiccup inside the last 1,000m disrupted the Australian’s rhythm as Jonathan Milan (Lidl-Trek) struck home to take his second stage win of the race.

Read more: Giro d'Italia stage 11: Jonathan Milan powers to victory, Tim Merlier relegated

“He was a bit far back when the crash happened but he actually got a second life off Danny van Poppel. He just didn’t have the legs to go when he went because Danny van Poppel actually moved him up into a pretty good position. Caleb wouldn't have won but I would have expected better than the place that he got,” White told GCN.

“The boys have been putting it together better and I think that he had a pretty good run today. The first pinch point was at 4km to go and Michael Hepburn did a very good job at moving the team into first position there off the back of Ineos. Max Walscheid could see that the other sprint teams were coming up and it was going to get very hectic so he took control at the front. It was a little bit early but at least it meant that we didn’t have to deal with the washing machine effect from behind. Then when they came, Luka Mezgec and Caleb slotted in behind the wheels and Caleb came back up on the left-hand side off the back of Van Poppel. It just didn’t look like he had the legs to get the job done,” White added.

All isn’t lost for Ewan, who remains competitive but probably needs a near-perfect set of circumstances to trouble the likes of Milan and Tim Merlier at this point.

“I think that Friday will be a sprint and then I think there are two more sprints left in the Giro for next week,” said White.

For everything you need to know about the 2024 Giro d'Italia, from the history of the race to this year's route and start list, be sure to check out our dedicated race hub.

Related Content

Link to Giro d’Italia stage 20 preview: Double Monte Grappa will bring GC fireworks
UAE Team Emirates will try to set things up for Tadej Pogačar on stage 20 of the Giro d'Italia

Giro d’Italia stage 20 preview: Double Monte Grappa will bring GC fireworks

Tadej Pogačar’s lead is likely safe, but big gaps and possible changes should emerge on the final climbing stage, as local rider Marco Frigo previews the climb for GCN

Clock
Link to Giro d'Italia 2024 abandons: The riders who have left the race
Christophe Laporte suffers cuts in a crash on stage 5, and would pull out of the Giro d'Italia ahead of stage 8

Giro d'Italia 2024 abandons: The riders who have left the race

An up-to-date list of the riders who have been forced to exit the Italian Grand Tour

Clock
Link to Giro d'Italia: No Playstation as Ineos hope 'stable effort can grind Dani Martinez down’
Thymen Arensman leads Geraint Thomas with Dani Martínez following on stage 17 of the Giro d'Italia

Giro d'Italia: No Playstation as Ineos hope 'stable effort can grind Dani Martinez down’

'Contrary to popular belief we don't always have 100% vision like you’re playing Playstation in the car' says DS Dempster as team back Geraint Thomas' push for second place

Clock
Link to Ben O’Connor ‘where he deserves to be’ in Giro d’Italia GC but hoping for more on Monte Grappa
Ben O'Connor in action during the Giro d'Italia

Ben O’Connor ‘where he deserves to be’ in Giro d’Italia GC but hoping for more on Monte Grappa

Stage 20 has potential to make big changes on the overall standings, and O’Connor isn’t ruling out a move up

Clock
Subscribe to the GCN Newsletter

Get the latest, most entertaining and best informed news, reviews, challenges, insights, analysis, competitions and offers - straight to your inbox