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Caleb Ewan lands shot at sixth Tour de France stage win

Lotto Dstny has picked Australian Caleb Ewan as the team's spearhead for the Tour de France.

Lotto Dstny has picked Australian Caleb Ewan as the team's spearhead for the Tour de France. Photo: AP

Caleb Ewan has been selected to shoot for more Tour de France glory after Australia’s top sprinter was announced as the spearhead of Lotto Dstny’s team for next month’s race.

Ewan, a prolific winner in the top events, has finally hit his stride again after enduring what he felt was his worst start to a season.

Three weeks ago, the 28-year-old Sydneysider finally claimed his first victory of a difficult 2023 campaign in a good-quality Belgian one-day race, which was the 60th triumph of his distinguished career.

And it provided just the boost his Belgian team had been hoping for as it announced a Tour de France team on Wednesday with a sprint train geared to helping the “Pocket Rocket” win his sixth Tour stage when the three-week grand tour kicks off in Bilbao at the start of July.

“We send a strong selection to the Tour,” Lotto Dstny sports manager Kurt Van de Wouwer said.

“Caleb Ewan has already won five stages in the Tour de France and wants to add one or more in the coming edition.

“The past two years, he has had his share of bad luck at the Tour, and also the past months haven’t been going perfectly, but he still remains one of the fastest riders of the bunch.

“He is our biggest chance to take a stage win. That is why we have surrounded him really well with Jasper De Buyst, who has shown his excellent shape the past weeks, and Jacopo Guarnieri as important elements in the sprint train.”

Ewan had hoped for a blistering start to 2023 after having suffered a dismal 2022 campaign in the grand tours.

He suffered crashes, injuries and near-misses in both the 2022 Giro d’Italia, which he dubbed the “Giro from hell”, and the Tour, where he limped on courageously despite numerous setbacks to win the “Lanterne Rouge”, awarded to the last finisher in the field.

But things got little better at the start of this year as he was beaten in two agonisingly close finishes, prompting him to complain: “This was probably the worst start of my career.”

But after his win in Belgium, he declared: “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.”

Ewan will feature among what is likely to be a strong Australian contingent, with 2022 Giro d’Italia winner Jai Hindley (BORA-hansgrohe) and Ben O’Connor (AG2R Citroen) leading the yellow jersey hopes.

-AAP

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