Teenage sprinter Caleb Ewan is playing down his chances of going one better in the criterium series where he announced himself as a future star of Australian road cycling.
But the Sydneysider has no chance of slipping under the radar at the Bay Cycling Classic starting in Geelong on Tuesday after a stellar year following the deeds which catapulted him into the spotlight 12 months ago as a raw 17-year-old.
The diminutive Ewan showed startling finishing speed and drew comparisons with great Robbie McEwen when he won two of four races last January to finish second overall, just one point behind GreenEDGE star Allan Davis.
He comes into the 2013 series after a year that included national junior track titles followed by seven wins on the road in Europe and culminated in a silver medal at the junior road world titles.
Ewan, who has spent a couple of days training with Cadel Evans in Geelong ahead of the Classic, said his program this time was more geared towards the national road racing championships in Ballarat from January 9-13 when he will race in the under-23s.
“Last year, I was racing a lot leading up to it but, this year, my focus is more on the road race. I’ve been doing more of longer road rides so far and my fitness is more up for that,” Ewan said on Monday.
“My crit form was probably a little better last year.”
Ewan said he’d attracted interest from European-based teams but he’s chosen to join the Australian Institute of Sport program which will base him in Italy for about half of 2013.
“I think that’s a much better pathway for me because you’re around people that you know and the language barrier will be easier to deal with too,” he said.
The youngster said it was great spending a couple of days with Evans learning the ropes of what it’s like to be a professional rider.
“It wasn’t so much the training part but more his knowledge of everything off the bike.
“We went on a ride on one of the days and then I watched him do some TV interviews and saw how that worked,” he said.
“He does a great job juggling his training and media commitments.”