Caleb Ewan second at Ronde van Limburg after three late bike changes

Caleb Ewan (Lotto Dstny) took his first win of the season at the Van Merksteijn Fences Classic on Saturday
Caleb Ewan (Lotto Dstny) took his first win of the season at the Van Merksteijn Fences Classic on Saturday (Image credit: Mark Van Hecke/Getty Images)

Caleb Ewan enjoyed a successful weekend on the bike in Belgium, taking his first win of the season at Saturday's Van Merksteijn Fences Classic before finishing second at the Ronde van Limburg on Monday.

Through the first 29 race days of the season, the Australian had racked up four podium spots for Lotto-Dstny, as well as a win in the non-UCI Schwalbe Classic criterium. The run also included a controversial second place in the photo finish at the GP Monseré.

It was, as he said after the Van Merksteijn Fences Classic, "probably the worst start of my career".

Ewan had the beating of Tim Merlier (Soudal-QuickStep) and Gerben Thijssen (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) in Zwevegem, starting his run-up to the Tour de France with a win. His run to second at the Ronde van Limburg behind Thijssen was more chaotic, however, with three bike changes coming in the final kilometres of the 1.1 race.

"At 10km from the finish I had a flat tire. I knew the team car was far away, so I wouldn't be able to get a new bike quickly," he said. "Therefore, I swapped with Jarrad [Drizners], but of course, his bike was way too big for me.

"A few minutes later Michael [Schwarzmann] offered his bike, but just at that moment the team car drove by and so I changed bikes for the third time."

Ewan said that he thought his chances of getting a result from the 204km semi-Classic were over when he punctured, thanking his teammates and lead-out man Rüdiger Selig for their hard work in getting him back on and up front.

"The moment I punctured I actually thought my race was over. The pace in the peloton was so fast. Without those bike changes or the hard work of Rüdiger I would never have made it back to the front of the peloton."

He concluded that he was pleased to take second place given the circumstances and noted that he was on track for the Tour de France, his big goal of the season, where he'll aim to add to his career tally of five stage wins.

"A second win would have been nice, but I had already lost a lot of energy on that ride back to the peloton. Keeping those mechanical issues in mind, I'm super satisfied with this second place.

"I am in good shape, but I feel there is still margin on it. We still have just over a month until the Tour, so I hope I can peak there."

His next race comes at the Baloise Belgium Tour in mid-June, where he'll look to continue the run of good results ahead of July.

"This was probably the worst start of my career, so I really needed this win," Ewan said after his win at the Van Merksteijn Fences Classic. "I didn't want to go to the Tour de France without a win to my name. Hopefully, this will give me the confidence I needed, and the ball will start rolling now.

"The team never gave up on me and kept believing in me. They rode with confidence today and pulled my card. After the last corner, I wasn't in the ideal position, but I waited for the right moment and was eventually able to jump into Merlier's wheel.

"They believed in me and did an excellent job and thanks to my teammates I was able to start the sprint fresh. I am very happy that I was able to finish it."


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Daniel Ostanek
Production editor

Daniel Ostanek is production editor at Cyclingnews, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later being hired as staff writer. Prior to joining the team, he had written for most major publications in the cycling world, including CyclingWeekly, Rouleur, and CyclingTips.


Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France and the spring Classics, and has interviewed many of the sport's biggest stars, including Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Demi Vollering, and Anna van der Breggen.


As well as original reporting, news and feature writing, and production work, Daniel also runs The Leadout newsletter and oversees How to Watch guides throughout the season. His favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Volta a Portugal, and he rides a Colnago C40.