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.
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.
Next Tuesday the Santos Tour Down Under kicks off in Unley. We are quite confident that the King of the Sprint competition will also have kicked off by the time the first 2017 WorldTour race comes to an end in Adelaide on Sunday 22 January.
Since top sprinters Mark Cavendish, André Greipel and Marcel Kittel didn’t travel to Australia this year, a lot of people expect world champion and multiple green jersey winner Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) to take the first King of the Sprint title in history.
But suppose …
… suppose Sagan doesn’t win, suppose he makes a mistake in the final sprint, suppose he doesn’t find a gap to dive in, suppose he has to let the peloton go because of a late puncture, or worse, suppose he crashes and has to leave the race. Or suppose he does become King of the Sprint but fails to successfully defend the title in the second sprint stage of the race. Then who would you put your money on?
Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) is certainly a rider who might beat Sagan on pure speed. But we’ll also keep an eye on Danilo Wyss (BMC Racing Team), Nikias Arndt (Team Sunweb), Danny Van Poppel (Team Sky), Mark Renshaw (Team Dimension Data) and Ben Swift (UAE Abu Dhabi)
And, who knows, maybe we’ll even get a surprise winner. There are exciting times ahead!