Ewan looking for record-equalling third consecutive victory at Bay Crits
22-year-old sprint ace Caleb Ewan is looking for a record-equalling third consecutive victory at the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic starting this Sunday, 1 January
Victory in 2017 would take his overall total to four titles, including as the youngest ever winner for his first victory in 2011.
Only 12-time Tour de France stage winner Robbie McEwen has a more impressive history at the ‘Bay Crits’. The now retired sprinter has the current record of three consecutive (’01 – ’03) and six overall titles at the criterium series.
Ewan won three of the four criteriums on his way to victories in 2015 and 2016. With the 2017 edition reduced to three stages due to a jammed-packed Australian summer of cycling, sport director Matt Wilson admits the previous two feats will be hard to match.
“We have exceeded expectations the last couple of years,” Wilson said. “The Bay Crits are always a bit of an unknown coming out of the off-season but we will be focusing on stage wins and would obviously love the overall too if it is up for grabs.”
“Caleb has won the Geelong Eastern Park stage on his way to overall victory in the past two seasons so it will be interesting to see how much the removal of that stage will open up the overall.”
Ewan will be joined by lead out man Mitch Docker, plus powerful workers in Luke Durbridge, Michael Hepburn and Damien Howson.
Durbridge is no stranger to the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic having won the criterium in Portarlington back-to-back in 2013 and 2014 and will no doubt have his eye on the same stage in 2017.
“The ‘Bay Crits’ are a great way to kick start the season,” Wilson concluded. “The guys may rotate in and out of the three days of racing depending on their individual programs and preparation for the Australian races to follow.”
ORICA-BikeExchange (ORICA-SCOTT in 2017) at the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic (1-3 Jan):
Mitch Docker (AUS, 30)
Luke Durbridge (AUS, 25)
Caleb Ewan (AUS, 22)
Michael Hepburn (AUS, 25)
Damien Howson (AUS, 24)
Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic – Race Details:
Sunday, 1 January: Criterium 1 – Eastern Beach, Geelong
Monday, 2 January: Criterium 2 – Portarlington
Tuesday, 3 January: Criterium 3 - Williamstown