Caleb Ewan proved to be the fastest sprinter in the 2019 Tour de France, with three stage wins including the finale on the Champs-Élysées, but he has yet to taste victory in Paris–Nice, where last year he was denied first by Dylan Groenewegen and then by Sam Bennett.
Fresh off early-season wins in Australia and the United Arab Emirates, the rider from Down Under is determined to keep the streak going in Paris–Nice, a race that motivates him in more than one way…
What does Paris-Nice mean for you?
I think it’s pretty well known as one of the most important Tours of the start of the season. It’s maybe the real start of the season. In my mind, it’s a race that offers good opportunities to the sprinters. Also, lots of crosswinds make it a hard racing. At least that’s what I experienced but I only did it once and it was last year. I’m happy to do it again because it’s also a good preparation race for what’s come next.
Coming from Australia, is there some magic in racing from Paris to Nice, which are two of the most famous cities in Europe?
Yeah! It’s actually one of the few races I was watching when I was growing up. As far as I remember, the Tour de France and Paris-Nice were the only two races that were televised in Australia, or kind of. So I watched those two. Paris is certainly the most known city in the world, especially for the cyclists [as the finishing location of the Tour de France]. Starting nearby Paris makes this race special. Everything in Paris–Nice is important because the stages that aren’t suitable for a sprinter help to work hard on the condition.
After riding under hot temperatures in Australia for the Tour Down Under or in the United Arab Emirates for the UAE Tour, do you see Paris-Nice as The Race to the Sun, as it’s called?
Yes because going to this race, we expect the weather not to be so sunny at the start but warmer as the week goes on. Going down south of France, it feels like a home race to me as I live in Monaco. It’s always nice to finish near where I’ve based myself in Europe.
But near home isn’t where you have to perform and your goals will come earlier, right?
Where I need to perform is up north and maybe in the middle. When it comes down to my home roads, I don’t expect to be racing at the front because the terrain is very hilly. However, everything in Paris-Nice is important because the stages that aren’t suitable for a sprinter help to work hard on the condition ahead of Milan-Sanremo.
What’s your goal in Paris-Nice this year?
A stage win. In every stage race, we always have the goal of aiming for one win and everything else is a bonus. I didn’t win any stage last year so I’d like to achieve that this year. In any case, I take Paris-Nice as a priority first, focusing on sprint stages. Only after I’ll set my sight on Milan-Sanremo.
Interview conducted in Dubai immediately prior just before the cancellation of the last two stages of the UAE Tour.