Jayco-AUla told Cyclingnews that the priority was to have Ewan at his best for Tuesday’s opening 144 km stage around Tanunda and the following five days of WorldTour racing.
“Caleb isn’t feeling 100%, he’s a bit under the weather since yesterday’s training session in the heat,” Jayco-AlUla told Cyclingnews.
“The team’s priority is to get him on the start line Tuesday, 100% ready to race the full Tour. That’s why he is going to skip tonight and rest with the intention of starting Tuesday.”
Temperatures were 22°C on Saturday evening for the criterium but touched 35°C on Friday, and felt every bit of that and more out on the road, with blue skies and the sun beating down. Forecasts predict high temperatures of 34°C on Monday before a fall to 24°C on Wednesday and a return to 35°C on Sunday for the final stage of the men’s Tour Down Under.
Ewan has been in Australia since Christmas and won the Australian criterium title in Ballarat after a strong ride and lead out from his new Jayco-AlUla teammates. The hour-long criterium serves as a warm-up and final shake-out before the Tour Down Under stage race starts on Tuesday.
Ewan won the 2023 edition of the evening criterium in central Adelaide and was the favourite again. However his absence freed Jayco-AlUla from any need to chase the attacks, sparking a more open race.
Jhonnatan Narváez (Ineos Grenadiers) was a surprise winner of the criterium after a six-rider attack held off the chase from the peloton and sprint teams. Narváez beat Natnael Tesfazion (Lidl-Trek) and neo-pro Isaac del Toro (UAE Team Emirates).