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Caleb Ewan roars to crit victory ahead of Tour Down Under

Ally Wollaston surprises the big names, while Patrick Bevin crashes in Team DSM team debut.

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ADELAIDE (VN) — Caleb Ewan picked up where he left off … in 2020.

The Aussie sprinter defended his title at the Schwalbe Men’s Classic evening critérium in Adelaide, if you’re not counting the two-year COVID hiatus.

Ally Wollaston shocked the big names in the women’s race to kick start racing this week in South Australia and the Santos Tour Down Under.

Ewan — racing this week in the UniSA local team — roared to his third straight win in the one-hour crit that’s the traditional preview of the action at the Santos Tour Down Under.

“I really like racing with a young team and sometimes with older pros they just kind of turn up,” Ewan said after his fifth career win in the classic.

“My team was quite good in the crit and it’s going to be a big learning curve for them,” he said. “I hope I can help with their development and help them with WorldTour and help them be part of that journey.”

Also read: Santos Tour Down Under now part of Women’s WorldTour

Big crowds lined the city streets of Adelaide ahead of the WorldTour debut 2023 season.

COVID-19 and all the precautions and health measures that put stop to the race for 2021 and 2022 seemed like a bad memory.

Patrick Bevin, making his debut in Team DSM colors, crashed heavily. The team was waiting for an update.

With the women’s Santos Tour Down Under starting Sunday and the men kicking off Tuesday, the men’s and women’s classics served up a tasty preview of what lies ahead of Australia’s biggest stage race.

Wollaston, who was recently crowned as the New Zealand critérium champion, kicked to victory with impressive speed.

“Early in the race it went away (from me) and so I definitely had my doubts about whether I would stay away or not,” Wollaston said.

“Once we got to around 45 minutes, I was thinking about how I’m gonna win this bike race now,” she said. “It was a really, really fun day for sure.”