It looks as if every great sprinter wants to hold the KOTS title at least once. After Mark Cavendish (Team Dimension Data) had himself crowned King after the first stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour yesterday, that other present-day sprinting legend Marcel Kittel (Quick Step Floors) took the win – and the title – today.
Until the very end of the sprint, everyone watching thought quadruple sprint king Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) would take the title back from Cavendish, but he started celebrating a fraction too early, and got beaten by Kittel’s final jump.
The next KOTS title race will probably be stage 4, on the Yas Marina Formula One circuit.
What a week for Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) at the Tour Down Under! And what a spectacular way to kick off our brand new King of the Sprint competition! By beating Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Marko Kump (UAE Abu Dhabi) in the Streets of Adelaide, Ewan took a record fourth consecutive King of the Sprint title.
On a side note, Sagan’s third second place in four mass sprint finishes is a record in itself.
What Ewan’s next race will be, hasn’t been officially announced yet, but if he stays in Australia, it might very well be the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race on 29 January, which might then become our next (and fifth) title race of the season.
Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott), the world’s first double King of the Sprint, became the world’s first triple King of the Sprint in the Streets of Campbelltown, Australia today. For the third time in four days, he crossed the line first in a Tour Down Under stage. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) came second, Danny Van Poppel (Team Sky) got third. On Sunday, Ewan might well obtain a fourth successive title in the streets of Adelaide.
He did it again! In Victor Harbor, reigning King of the Sprint Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) also won the second mass sprint of the Tour Down Under, after he had taken home the first stage two days earlier. This time, he beat world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Niccolo Bonifazio (Bahrain-Merida) to the line. Needless to say, Ewan becomes the first rider ever to successfully defend the King of the Sprint title.
Friday’s stage to Campbelltown could see another mass sprint finish. If not, we’ll probably have to wait until Sunday’s final stage in Adelaide to witness the third title race of the season.
We already have a King! Somewhat surprisingly, in the first stage of the Tour Down Under, favourite Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) decided not to go for the win himself, but to be the lead-out man for his teammate Sam Bennett. Bennett didn’t win, however, as Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) easily outsprinted Danny Van Poppel (Team Sky) in Lyndoch to take the very first King of the Sprint title ever.
Tomorrow’s second stage will probably prove to be too hilly for the sprinters, but we might see a new (or the same) King crowned at the end of the third stage in Victor Harbor on Thursday.