Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) again received a very good leadout from his Belgian squad in their home race as he made it consecutive wins in the Baloise Belgium Tour Stage 4 after taking out the third stage yesterday.
Caleb Ewan had taken a very good stage win on the previous day’s finish into Scherpenheuvel-Zichem, but this time the Australian sprinter showed his range as he won on a hilly day in Belgium that included a number of climbs, including an ascent of the infamous Mur de Huy.
Ewan was distanced on the final climb, but was paced back to the front by a strong display from his Lotto Soudal team, piloting him to the front of the peloton and then even finishing off the job, leading the Australian sprinter out first into the final corner. Jasper de Buyst was the last man on the front for Ewan and he even managed to hold on for fifth as Ewan exploded away from Bryan Coquard (B+B Hotels) and Davide Ballerini (Deceuninck-Quickstep) in the slight uphill sprint.
Stage 4 Highlights (Eurosport)
“To be honest, I didn’t really believe in a stage victory before the start”, begins Caleb Ewan. “I expected that the GC guys would take their opportunity today and that there would be a lot of attacks. But the pace was kept really high all day long and I think a lot of the guys didn’t really have the legs to get away in the end.
“It was only with one lap to go that I really started to believe in it. I felt good and we decided that we would give it a go. That is why you started seeing us coming to the front to chase the breakaway. I am really happy to pull it off once again after a superb job by my team today.”
Ewan also took over the points jersey from Remco Evenepoel, who remains the overall leader in the race. The Lotto Soudal leadout has been suspect at points during the 2020 and 2021 seasons, but in recent races they have delivered Ewan to the front regularly even leading into the final kick to the line in the Baloise Belgium Tour.
“The team did an amazing job waiting for me and moving me back to the bunch,” said Ewan. “In the end, we were still with five guys left and it worked out perfectly. I knew it would be hard to come back but I kept fighting with my teammates to bridge to the front group. And that lead-out was again really impressive,”
Ewan can make it three wins tomorrow in the closing stage towards Beringen, where another bunch sprint is expected.
“Tomorrow, there’s another chance for a stage win and obviously we are really motivated to go for it again. I don’t think I ever scored a hattrick in my career so that would really be unique.”