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Ewan can match McEwen in cycling series

AAP logoAAP 29/12/2016 Roger Vaughan

At 22, Caleb Ewan has a long way to go before he emulates Robbie McEwen's legendary cycling career.

But the man regarded as the Australian sprinting heir to McEwen can start the new year by equalling one of his feats.

Ewan is the strong favourite to win his third-straight Mitchelton Bay Classic criterium series.

McEwen, the 12-time Tour de France stage winner, is the only rider to win three-successive men's series, from 2001-03.

He won six altogether and Ewan has three, including 2011 when he was the youngest men's winner.

The series starts on January 1 on the super-fast Geelong waterfront circuit.

But a packed domestic schedule means the four-day series is now down to three, with organisers leaving out the Eastern Park race at Geelong.

Ewan has won at Eastern Park in his past two series wins.

"We have exceeded expectations the last couple of years," said Ewan's Orica-Scott team director Matt Wilson.

"The Bay Crits are always a bit of an unknown coming out of the off-season, but we will be focusing on stage wins and would obviously love the overall too if it is up for grabs.

"It will be interesting to see how much the removal of that (Eastern Park) stage will open up the overall."

Ewan will have quality support, with compatriots Mitch Docker, Luke Durbridge, Michael Hepburn and Damien Howson forming a powerful team around him for the series.

After the early-evening Geelong race on New Year's Day, the series will continue at Portarlington on January 2 and then the last event the following day at suburban Williamstown.

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