We were looking forward to today’s third Tirreno-Adriatico stage, because it would be the first chance for the sprinters in the Italian stage race, and King of the Sprint Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) was taking part. Until he crashed out of the second stage yesterday, that is. DNF Ewan and gone was the chance for a seventh title race. Luckily, we’ll soon see Ewan race again:
So, Milan-Sanremo could be our next title race, although the season’s first Monument is rarely decided in a real mass sprint.
Caleb Ewan’s (Orica-Scott) Abu Dhabi Tour didn’t start very well, with a crash in stage 1 and a certain victory in stage 2 lost after celebrating too early, but he put things right again in the fourth and final stage today, a 143 km circuit race on the Yas Marina Formula One circuit.
After a day in the rain, Ewan got the better of rivals Mark Cavendish (Team Dimension Data) and André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal), who has yet to win his first title race.
By winning the final stage, Ewan makes sure that at least a few extra days are added to his reign, which started on the first day of the Tour Down Under in January and was only interrupted for a few days this week in Abu Dhabi. We know that he will compete in Milano-Sanremo on 18 March, but it isn’t clear yet where he will race in the weeks leading up to that event.
The fifth KOTS title race in history finally saw a change of power in the sprint kingdom, when Mark Cavendish (Team Dimension Data), arguably the best sprinter ever, beat rival André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) and Niccolo Bonifazio (Bahrain-Merida) in Madinat Zayed at the finish of the first stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour.
Reigning King of the Sprint Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) couldn’t defend his chances properly, though, as he got involved in a crash a kilometre from the line, which also brought down co-favourite Marcel Kittel (Quick Step Floors).
Can Cavendish also achieve a double – or even a triple? This time tomorrow, we might already know!