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Fresh, Young Faces Takeover Spain

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Aug 26, 2015 – Caleb Ewan celebrated the biggest win of his career on Wednesday, the 21-year-old Australian claiming the fifth stage of Spain’s Vuelta with Dutch rider Tom Dumoulin the new overall leader.

AFP/Yuzuru Sunada

Ewan, tackling his debut Vuelta, prevailed in a dash for the line after a 167.5 kilometre ride from Rota to Alcala de Guadaira. His teammate, Johan Esteban Chaves, started the day in possession of the leader’s red jersey but by the end of the stage he’d been relegated to second in the general classification, albeit by only one second to Team Giant-Alpecin’s Dumoulin. Dumoulin came in 15th with Chaves in 20th in the stage.

In third, 16sec back, was Team Sky’s Irish rider Nicolas Roche. Ewan’s win was made all the sweeter as he crossed the line with specialist sprinters John Degenkolb of Germany – whose big race wins include the Milan-SanRemo and Paris-Roubaix – and Slovakia’s Peter Sagan – a four time winner of the Tour de France points classification – in his wake.

Ewan was set up for his breakthrough success in perfect style by other members of his team in the final 50 meters.

“This is by far the best day of my career,” he smiled. “To beat some of the top sprinters in the world, especially riders like Degenkolb or Sagan, on a climbing finish like that, that means a lot to me.” Ewan, for whom this is a first shot at one of the Grand Tours, added: “It’s an honor to compete against riders like that.”

Sagan was well placed in second but he was put in his place by the promising Aussie who came round the German to take the honors. Dumoulin for his part conceded taking the overall lead hadn’t been on his mind at the beginning of the stage.

“It didn’t figure in my plans for today (Wednesday) but it is an agreeable surprise,” said Dumoulin. “Now that I have got the jersey I am going to fight to retain it, and I hope to keep it for as long as possible.

“However, there are several difficult stages coming up,” added the 24-year-old, who is competing in his first Vuelta. Thursday’s sixth stage is a 200.3km ride from Cordoba and Sierra de Cazorla with a finish on a third category summit.

Final kilometers of Stage 5

Results Stage 5:
1. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica GreenEdge 3:57:28
2. John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin
3. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo
4. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC Racing Team
5. Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:02
6. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN – Qhubeka
7. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
8. Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Team Katusha
9. Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal
10. Nikolas Maes (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step

General Classification:
1. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin 17:09:06
2. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEdge 0:00:01
3. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Sky 0:00:16
4. Daniel Martin (Irl) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 0:00:27
5. Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Team Katusha 0:00:31
6. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar 0:00:33
7. Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:35
8. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha 0:00:36
9. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:39
10. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:52