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After winning two stages in the Giro d’Italia and then abandoning with knee pain, Australian rider Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) is set to resume racing at the Baloise Belgium Tour (June 9-13) as he works to build back the form required to fulfil his goal of securing a stage victory at all three Grand Tours this year.

“After my abandon at the Giro I was off the bike for a few days but I have resumed training now and everything seems to be going in the right direction,” said Ewan in a team statement. 

The 26-year-old was never considered likely to ride all the way to Milan, given he was also fronting up to the Tour de France, potentially even for a tilt at the green jersey, but his abandon midway through stage 8 was earlier than expected. It was a move that drew criticism, though the rider said he was more disappointed than anyone that he had to leave and clarified that the reason for his withdrawal was knee pain.

“I just hope I didn’t lose too much of my shape because I really needed more race rhythm,” said Ewan. “That is why I was so disappointed to pull out of the Giro with the ‘maglia ciclamino’ on my shoulders. The plan was to continue for at least another week and trying to reward the team with a third-stage victory.”

Now, with his knee recovering and the team expecting him to be able to line up at the Tour de France as planned, the rider – who has taken 11 Grand Tour stage wins over his career so far – will be looking to find that race rhythm in Belgium instead.

“The Baloise Belgium Tour is definitely a good race, as a preparation towards the Tour”, said Lotto Soudal’s general manager John Lelangue. “In 2019, Caleb prepared for the Tour de France via a similar run-up with the ZLM Tour now being the Baloise Belgium Tour.”

Lelangue said he and Ewan were both optimistic about the next step in his plan to win a stage at every Grand Tour this year with the Tour de France, starting on June 26 in Brest, delivering a number of opportunities for the sprinters. 

“If everything falls into place, there should be around seven sprint opportunities where Caleb can go for one or more stage wins.”

SOURCE: CyclingNews   (go to source)
AUTHOR: Cycling News
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