EWAN DISAPPOINTED BUT ACCEPTS DECISION
AUSTRALIAN Lotto-Soudal sprinter Caleb Ewan has accepted the decision by commissaires to relegate him from southaustralia.com Stage 5, but says he disagrees with the outcome against him.
Ewan was judged to be in breach of UCI road race regulations controlling the conduct of riders at final and intermediate sprints and was subsequently excluded from Saturday's penultimate stage.
The man he crossed the line ahead of was Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates) who was promoted to first place in the dramatic stage that also saw race leader Patrick Bevin caught up in a peloton crash 10km from the finish.
Lotto-Soudal released a statement with Ewan staying he was disappointed with the result, but also praising the work of teammates.
"This is very disappointing. I was so looking forward to my first official victory for Lotto Soudal," Ewan said.
"After crossing the line, it felt like a massive relief, but the next moment all of that joy disappeared when I heard that I had been relegated. Nevertheless, the team did a great job today. It was a tricky and hectic day with a lot of wind. Before the stage, everyone knew that there was a possibility of echelons, but the team kept me in front all day long. I could also start the finale in a perfect position.”
“During the final kilometres, I was on Peter Sagan’s wheel but Philipsen tried to take that spot as he tried to push me out of Sagan’s wheel. You are not allowed to take your hands off the handlebars in the sprint so I used my head to avoid ending up in the barriers. Head movements are of course clearly visible on a helicopter shot but a lot of former sprinters will confirm that my manoeuvre was not irregular.”
“Of course, I have to accept the decision taken by the jury, but I don’t agree with it. I wanted to protect myself and the whole peloton against a crash. The commissaires did not listen to our side of the story before taking the final decision. It will take a couple of days to process the disappointment. Now, it’s mainly about finishing the Tour Down Under on a good note and focusing on new goals afterwards."
CCC Team's race leader Patrick Bevin was cleared of head injury and bone fractures after being taken to Calvary Wakefield Hospital on Saturday night.