Date: January 02 2013
IN THE same place, at the same time, Caleb Ewan did precisely what he did 12 months ago, leaving those who observed the teenager burn off a bunch of pro cyclists in Geelong last year to shake their heads and marvel all over again.
A dual stage winner and second overall in last year's Bay Cycling Classic when he was just 17, Ewan returned to claim the first victory of the 2013 season by beating an international field.
Regarded as another Robbie McEwen in the making, the sprinter from Bowral, New South Wales, who is set to join Australia's new World Tour academy, has already won a junior world track title and was the silver medallist in the junior world championships road race last year.
On Tuesday night, he finished first in a peloton that featured Kiwi Greg Henderson - who held a solo break for the first 20 minutes of the criterium - two British teams and a five-man Orica-GreenEDGE outfit led by Leigh Howard and Luke Durbridge.
In the last lap of a hot-dog circuit, it appeared race leaders Tom Scully (Grays Online) and Jens Mouris (Orica-GreenEDGE), who at one stage had a seven-second buffer on the pack, would fight for line honours.
But with breathtaking speed, Ewan not only caught them but beat them comfortably.
''Last year, I was a bit overwhelmed,'' Ewan said afterwards. ''The big guys have been racing the Tour de France and I'm just this little guy in the juniors. But from winning [the stages] last year I knew I had the ability to beat these guys, and I come into the race feeling a bit more confident about myself. It's a lot better, just mentally.''
Bay Cycling Classic, elite men stage one: 1 Caleb Ewan NSW (Bikebug) 12 points; 2 Jens Mouris NED (Orica-GreenEDGE) 10 points; 3 Thomas Scully NZ (Grays Online) 8 points.
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