We are not likely to see much of Caleb Ewan in stage six of the 2019 Tour, but we spoke to him before the start… because it’s his 25th birthday.
Caleb Ewan has finished third in the two sprint stages of his debut Tour… but on the morning of the first mountain stage, from Mulhouse to La Planche des Belles Filles, RIDE Media had a quick chat to find out a little bit about what it’s like for a sprinter when the Tour arrives in the mountains.
The sixth stage of the 2019 Tour will be his 16th Grand Tour stage of 2019… but the first in which he has climbed to an altitude of over 1,000 metres.
His mission for the stage? To make it inside the time limit.
– Click the SoundCloud file to listen to the interview and/or read the transcript below. –
Click the file above to listen to a quick Q&A with Caleb.
RIDE: We’re up for a big sprint today. You ready for it on your birthday?
Caleb Ewan: “Yeah, I’ll be sprinting to try to make it inside the time limit today.”
It is really brutally steep. And you’ve got the King of the Mountains in your team. What are your responsibilities on a day like today?
“Just to survive. It’s not just the last climb that we have to worry about.
“You just don’t want to get dropped too early on the first climb because then it’s a long way to go and, with such a short stage, the time limit is not so big… so, it’s a dangerous one for us sprinters.”
A little bit stressful…? Or you can cope? You look pretty calm. You’re not getting worked up.
“No. Well, you know me, I don’t get worked up about too much, so I’ll just try my best to get through it and we’ll see.
“I’ve got good team-mates to stay with me as well, so it should be fine.”
You’ve done enough Giros to know that you have tough mountains and then you have sprints… how do you manage knowing that tomorrow – and a long, flat stage – is on the horizon?
“Well, I always pull out before the big mountains come.
“This is my 16th Grand Tour stage this year, and I haven’t gone over a 1,000 metres (in altitude) yet. So, today is going to be the first time in 16 stages.”
It’s a steep mountain but it’s not huge.
“No. The last one is fine. If you are within, kind of, 20 minutes of the bunch.
“It’s just all the mountains before you get there.
“When there’s a hill at the start, there’s always the chance that you’re going to get dropped super early and that’s what we’re trying to avoid.”
I imagine that, when there’s a sprint stage, the team is trying to gee you up. Do you reverse the role and try and giddy-up Tim Wellens?
“No, because the faster they go, the harder it is for me, so I try to calm him down a little bit.
“We’ve got good guys for the break actually, so we’ll have a few guys who are quite aggressive and then half the team with me to make as easy as possible.”
Thanks for having a quick chat as you turn 25.
“Thanks. See you around.”
– Interview by Rob Arnold