The Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race (1.UWT) takes place on Sunday and Lotto Soudal will race in support of their Australian sprinter Caleb Ewan.
The 24 year-old has already taken a number of victories this season having won two stages at the Bay Cycling Classic and the Down Under Classic. The riders will tackle a number of climbs along the 160-kilometre route including four ascents of Challambra Crescent (1.2kms at 8.4%), but if it does come down to a sprint, Ewan will face some tough competition.
Amongst the other sprinters and in-form riders lining up in Geelong are: Elia Viviani (Deceuninck – Quick Step), Jay McCarthy (BORA – hansgrohe), Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott), and Jasper Philipsen (UAE-Team Emirates).
Caleb Ewan: “It’s definitely a race that we can win if the conditions are right. If it’s a race where everything goes to plan for me – and the other sprinters – it can end with a reduced bunch sprint. If that’s not the case, it can turn into a super hard race with maybe a climber winning. Obviously, the conditions and the way other teams race is out of our hands but I think we’ll give ourselves the best possible opportunity and then we’ll see how far into the race we can go. Hopefully it is going to be a little more negative than aggressive racing.”
Mario Aerts – Lotto Soudal Directeur Sportif: “Our plan is to deliver Caleb to the finish line in the best possible position. Of course, the race itself but also the weather conditions will decide if we will achieve that objective. The Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race is a race where Caleb can start with less pressure. Contrary to the Tour Down Under, where Caleb in the first place, hoped to get a win. But of course, a nice result is always welcome.”
“Previous editions have been won by strong fast guys (McCarthy, Arndt, Meersman) as well as punchers (Kennaugh). We know that Caleb can do well on a hilly course, he’s proven this last week and also last year. So we are confident about that. Our team also won’t have to take all the initiative. We won’t control a semi-Classic from start to finish. We will do everything to bring Caleb well-positioned in the finale and then we will have to hope for the best!”
Line-up Lotto Soudal:
Thomas De Gendt
Carl Fredrik Hagen