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Ewan wins last race of cycling series

AAP logoAAP 3/01/2017 Roger Vaughan

All that Caleb Ewan lost when he crashed on Sunday night was some skin down his left side and the chance to make Australian cycling history.

But the star sprinter's form and confidence remain sky-high.

The 22-year-old Orica-Scott rider bounced back on Tuesday by winning the last race of the Mitchelton Bay Classic series at Williamstown, with Britain's Ian Bibby finishing fourth to ensure the series title.

Ewan was the overwhelming men's favourite heading into the three-race classic.

He was the two-time defending champion and another series win would have made him the first men's rider to win three-straight since legendary sprinter Robbie McEwen.

But Ewan's crash as he led the field into the last corner of race one at Geelong killed that hope.

His injuries looked nasty, but Ewan immediately proved they were not serious when he and Robbie Hucker formed a two-rider breakaway during race two at Portarlington.

Then he unleashed a withering long-range sprint to beat rival Brenton Jones in race three.

It was his third win at Williamstown and a strong sign ahead of his title defence on Wednesday at the Australian road championships.

Ewan will again be the favourite for the men's elite criterium in Ballarat.

"It makes me feel like I have all bases covered going into nationals, so I'm feeling good," Ewan said.

"Obviously it would have been nice to do it (equal McEwen's feat), but this is a small stepping stone to the bigger races.

"So I'm not really too disappointed. "

Likewise, Ewan did not let himself brood over the Saturday crash, even though he remains unsure how it happened.

"I've gone through that corner so many times before, probably faster than I was going then," he said.

"I watched a video of it and it looked like I crashed pretty much as soon as I hit the corner.

"My pride wasn't hurt that much - riders crash all the time.

"That was my first crash since I've been at Bay Crits, so it was probably bound to happen."

Ewan's major early-season goal will be the March 18 Milan-Sanremo classic.

He will also compete in Adelaide's Tour Down Under later this month.

Ewan will start Sunday's nationals road race and although the course does not suit sprinters, he hopes to be a factor.

"It really comes down to conditions," he said.

Ewan said there is a head wind on the main climb that suits him much better than a tail wind.

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