Ewan takes Tour Down Under Classic Criterium

Ewan wins Tour Down Under warm-up race over Cofidis pair Viviani and Consonni.

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Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) won the Tour Down Under Classic Criterium Sunday. The Australian beat Elia Viviani (Cofidis) and his leadout man Simone Consonni in the sprint finish.

“This was my first race of the season – usually I do some races before – but I felt really good out there,” said Ewan after the race.

“I started this season with a bit of pressure to replicate what I did last year, so I’ll try and grow my wins on top of this,” said Ewan, who won three Tour de France stages and two at the Giro Italia in 2019. He has now won the Classic Criterium four times in the last five editions.

The Australian won by a convincing margin having been moved into position by his team through the final and coming off the wheel of Kristoffer Halvorsen (EF Education First) as the Norwegian opened up his move.

The Cofidis train leadout was next to react, with Consonni guiding Viviani through a packed field of sprinters. Viviani came through to take second place in his first appearance for his new team, with his leadout man placing third.

The race, put on by the Santos Tour Down Under organizers to whet the appetite for the six-day stage race starting Tuesday, was an evening criterium through Adelaide. Attacks went early in the race, but after a breakaway won the criterium in the women’s race earlier in the day, the sprint teams were quick to reel them in, and the race was all together in the final lap.

Going into the final, EF-Education First were active on the front working for Halvorsen, knocking shoulders with Team Ineos, pulling for their sprinter Chris Lawless.

Ewan’s Lotto Soudal team left it late to bring their sprinter up to the front for the final straight, but timed it to perfection to put him into position. The 25-year-old came off teammate Roger Kluge’s wheel, jumped onto Halvorsen, and went on to win from there.

Sam Bennett lost his leadout man in the melee as the race entered the final straight as he made his first appearance for new team Deceuninck-Quick-Step. He finished in the pack after failing to contest the sprint.

Bennett, Ewan and Viviani are all part of a packed Tour Down Under sprinter field. The race gets underway Tuesday.