Caleb Ewan took his first UCI victory in a Lotto-Soudal jersey today on the fourth stage of the UAE Tour, which finished on the short but steep Hatta Dam. The Australian launched an impressive sprint to take the win ahead of Matteo Moschetti (Trek – Segafredo) and race leader Primož Roglič (Team Jumbo-Visma).
Early in the stage, six riders escaped the peloton and were granted a maximum advantage of around eight minutes before Jumbo-Visma – the team of overall leader Roglič – started the chase. After a relatively quiet first part of the race, crosswinds caused the peloton to split in different groups. However, it all came back together moments later.
With around 50 kilometres of racing left, the GC teams tried to drop some of the sprinters in the lumpy run-in to the finish but they didn’t succeed in their attempt as an almost intact peloton headed for the Hatta Dam.
A crash in the finale marred the sprint preparation for some but Ewan managed to avoid the danger as he reached the foot of the final climb in a perfect position. The Australian timed his uphill sprint to perfection and beat the Italian Moschetti and Slovenian Roglič to take glory in the fourth stage of the UAE Tour.
Caleb Ewan: “It feels really good to take my first official Lotto Soudal win. Going into the stage, we knew that if we got to the bottom of the climb in good position, it could really suit me because I am one of the smallest sprinters. With so many good sprinters here, I really thought that this stage would be the one that I could possibly win.
“The boys did a perfect job, holding me in the good position and keeping me out of the wind all day. During the finale – because I was moving up to the front at the outside – I heard the crash happening but I did not see it. When I started the climb – in third position – my legs felt really good and that’s when I realised that I could win.
“From 50 kilometres to go, it was a really tough stage. Then, we were not stressing too much but suddenly one team tried to create some echelons. The peloton split a little and we had to do an effort to get back to the bunch. Actually, I was pretty tired there but I rested a little once I got over the top. There was a long downhill section, after which we had two more little climbs to do, but once I had recovered from the effort before, I felt good again.”