In a steep uphill sprint, Lotto Soudal’s Caleb Ewan triumphed for the second consecutive year on Hatta Dam at the end of stage 2 of the UAE Tour. Ewan was faster and stronger than Sam Bennett, Arnaud Démare and Diego Ulissi. The victory brings Ewan into the red jersey of the overall leader of the race as former GC leader Pascal Ackermann was dropped on the penultimate climb.
“It was a really tough finish”, said Caleb Ewan. “We thought that it might be a little bit harder than last year as the profile looked to be harder, but there was no wind, it was pretty straightforward. The last climbs were really hard of course, but my team did just a great job to drop me off in that final corner, and in the best position possible. I have to thank them for this victory.”
It was Ewan’s teammate Jasper De Buyst who lead out the sprint for the Australian, who remained calm and patient when Sam Bennett hit out with more than 150 meters to go. In the very steep final part, Ewan passed the Irish rider.
“I could have gone from the bottom as well, as Sam Bennett did, but I knew that it’s better to wait a few seconds because it is in that last twenty meters that you can really win a race and that’s what I did. I’ve waited for those last 20 or 30 meters because if you blow there, you can lose so much time. I knew how long I could go for, I timed my sprint really well and I could accelerate all the way to the line.”
Caleb Ewan leads the UAE Tour after two stages. Bennett and Démare are second and third, 12 and 16 seconds behind respectively.
“It’s always nice to lead a Tour. I lead Tour Down Under earlier this year and now I’m leading UAE Tour. So, the season is going well so far”, concluded Caleb Ewan.