Ewan out to don pink at the Giro d'Italia

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Caleb Ewan knows it won't be easy - but he's not ruling out the idea of sitting pretty in pink after the opening stage of the Giro d'Italia.

Australian cycling's 'pocket rocket', sounding in confident mood in Budapest on the eve of the race, also revealed he could still attempt the tantalising feat of going for stage wins in the Giro, Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana this season.

Ewan had set out to achieve the same rare Grand Tour treble last year after winning two stages at the Giro but ended up missing out after breaking his collar bone in a crash on the third stage of the Tour.

This year, his big end-of-year ambition is the world championships on home Australian roads but he admitted on Thursday he still could go for the single-year hat-trick if he wins during the first two legs in Italy and France.

The 27-year-old Lotto-Soudal sprint ace is very hopeful about his Giro prospects, saying: "I don't know if I'm in the best shape of my career but I definitely feel really good."

He even has the rare chance to take the race leader's pink jersey - the coveted maglia rosa - in Friday's 195km opening stage from Budapest to Visegrad, with Hungary honoured to be hosting the Grande Partenza outside Italy.

"It's pretty difficult but easier than I thought it would be," said the improving climber Ewan, after having reccied the final uphill stretch.

"It's still five kilometres uphill so quite difficult but I've nothing to lose. I wouldn't say it's a golden opportunity - in general, it's probably too hard for me - but it's not impossible.

"I'm going to try to win. Either I'm going to have the legs to do it, or not - it's pretty simple."

Ewan, who's won five races this season, will have plenty of competition for sprint wins here against the likes of British great Mark Cavendish, France's Arnaud Demare and Colombian Fernando Gaviria.

"I consider myself one of the fastest men in the peloton but you still have to beat the guys who are here," said Ewan, who's won nine grand tour stages.

"If I'm the best sprinter here and I only win one stage, then I'll probably be disappointed.

"I wasn't aiming to (win at all three grand tours this year) but maybe if I can win a stage at the Giro and the Tour, I can start thinking about maybe going to the Vuelta.

"It's not really in my mind at the moment. The world championship is something I'm aiming for so it will be a bit more about what's best preparation for that.

"If we think the Vuelta's going to be good preparation for the worlds, maybe we'll go for it."

One thing's for sure. Ewan says he definitely won't be completing the Giro, and may well pull out before the final week to save himself for the Tour.

"The two Tours de France I finished, I wasn't great for the rest of the season afterwards so I think it would be a mistake to finish the Giro and then go on to Tour," he said.

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