Caleb Ewan is looking forward to making his return to racing at the Tour de Yorkshireon Friday and is hoping to produce a stellar performance as he heads into a key phase of the season.
The Orica-Scott rider is regarded as one of the world’s best sprinters with six wins under his belt already this year, and is targeting Saturday’s stage from Tadcaster to Harrogate in particular given its sprint-friendly characteristics.
The 22-year-old Australian will be extra motivated to prosper as well after being narrowly denied victory by Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) on the opening stage into Settle last season.
The Tour de Yorkshire will be Ewan’s first race since completing the single-day Ghent-Wevelgem last month and he is hoping to sharpen his condition before taking part in the Giro d’Italia – one of cycling’s three Grand Tours – which starts in Sardinia on Friday 5 May.
He said: “I’m feeling good for the Tour de Yorkshire. Having not raced in a month there is always a little bit of an unknown in terms of racing form, but I feel good in training and I’m hoping to feel good throughout the race.
“I’ll be using the Tour to hone my condition ahead of the Giro d’Italia, but getting a win in Yorkshire is very important for me, for my confidence, and also for the team. It’ll be a perfect way to finish my preparations.”
Ewan was hugely impressed when he rode the Tour de Yorkshire last season and is expecting a tough three days to come.
He added: “It’s definitely a good, challenging race, which is perfect for me. The weather and the small roads make it difficult and the crowds are always incredible. They always give you extra motivation and it’s a shame I won’t be able to enjoy the scenery too as I’ll be 100% concentrating on the road, where I’m positioned in the bunch, and making sure I stay safe.
“It’s going to be a tough race this year. Saturday is the day that looks most likely for a sprint, so that’s the one I am most focused on.
“I’m always really motivated on days like that as victories are obviously always important to me. Getting a stage win in Yorkshire will massively boost confidence going into the Giro.”