Aussie cyclist Caleb Ewan has always sounded like a winner.
It’s that name. It’s millennial and cool. It’s four confident syllables of bike race winning certainty.
I even went so far recently as to announce on Twitter that Caleb Ewan has the most winning-y name in pro-cycling. Cycling fans quickly suggested Winner Anacona and Peter Winnen as joint holders of that title.
Which is a fair point.
(I then got into a debate about the merits of George Best and Michael Winner as pro cyclists. But that’s a whole other blog post.)
But still, it doesn’t change my certainty that the very moment the Ewan family named their boy Caleb, filled him up with sugar, and pointed him in the direction of a bike, they had set fate in motion.
Race winner Ca-leb-Ew-an.
Has a ring to it, doesn’t it?
And never more so than right here in January at the start of a new pro cycling season. With sprint friendly races in the Australian sunshine, and race-starved fans absorbing every detail of every event, he’s the natural headline maker. He’s the name on everyone’s lips. He looks unbeatable. He sounds unbeatable.
Here in 2017 he’s already repeated last year’s win at the National Criterium Championships. He didn’t manage to follow that up at the Aussie National Road Championships, but there are opportunities ahead at the People’s Choice Criterium, the Tour Down Under, and the Great Ocean Road Race.
Ewan surely front-loads his training to be in tip-top shape for these home events, causing the armchair experts to front-load their annual predictions and claim this as the year when he takes over the world.
But I spoke too soon.
As the season panned out the big beasts like Marcel Kittel and Mark Cavendish stuck their elbows out and took no prisoners. The diminutive Ewan found himself swept aside and bullied out of contention.
There’s no disgrace in losing to these guys – at 22, and along with Fernando Gaviria, he’s surely the future – but there are things he could do to improve his chances.
He could sort out his nickname, for starters.
He’s small. He’s quick. Therefore he’s the ‘Pocket Rocket’ by default.
Come on Caleb. Come on Aussie cycling media. Come on fellow cycling fans. We can do better than this. Surely something more confrontational would help?
Caleb ‘Ewan-whose-army?’ perhaps?
(Image via Wikimedia cc)