Eurosport expert Sean Kelly hailed Caleb Ewan as ‘unbeatable’ after the Australian stormed to victory in Stage 5 of the Giro d’Italia on Wednesday.
Ewan powered past closest rival Giacomo Nizzolo (Qhubeka-ASSOS) with a perfectly timed finishing sprint to take Stage 5 in Cattolica.
It was Ewan’s first win at this year’s race and Kelly marvelled at the 26-year-old’s abilities in the slipstream.
Ewan's late thrust cuts down Colbrelli to win Stage 5 of Benelux Tour
“Caleb Ewan just getting it right,” Kelly said on The Breakaway. “You can see it in the Tour de France last year, the way he is able to just zig zag, sneak through the peloton.
“When you have a little bit of luck like that, and that’s what you’re hoping, nowadays you have to be in the slipstream and that is the place to be.
If you can stay in the slipstream as long as possible and come at the very end, which he can do so well, well then he’s unbeatable.
Italy’s Alessandro De Marchi retained the pink jersey in a dramatic finish to the race which saw Mikel Landa (Bahrain-Victorious) and Tuesday’s Stage 4 winner Joe Dombrowski (UAE Team Emirates) hit the tarmac in a painful crash.
Highlights: Landa crashes out as Ewan wins Stage 5
The pan-flat 177km finish was packed with incidents in the final stretch and Brian Smith hailed Ewan’s decision-making in traffic after Nizzolo opted to avoid the bodies.
“Through the eye of the needle, he does it so well. You create your own luck,” Smith said, as he expanded on Kelly’s assessment.
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“Everybody’s got a choice in the sprint. Nizzolo had the choice, either he goes into the traffic and tries to get a bit of slipstream like everybody else does but he decided to go the long way round.
“Like Sean says, in the wind, very, very good sprint but at the end of the day in the slightly uphill with the wind blowing he was always going to die that little bit.
“Caleb Ewan, like you say I don’t know how he does it, but he gets himself in that place. He doesn’t worry about the bumping and barging, that doesn’t put him off.
“He’s got one focus on that wheel and he managed to get through the gaps open for him. Sometimes you create your own luck and we see it so often with Caleb Ewan, the gaps open as you get closer to the line, but he’s got that bang to get past them.”
Attentions now turn to Stage 6 in the mountains in Grotte di Frasassi but there was heartbreaking news for Pavel Sivakov on Thursday morning as he was forced to join Landa in withdrawing from the Giro d'Italia following his collision with a tree on Stage 5.
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'The strongest!' - Ewan wins Stage 5
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