Ewan scores morale-boosting cycling win

Australian sprint ace Caleb Ewan has posted his first win of the year, dominating the finish to the Tour Down Under Classic street race in Adelaide.

It's a morale-boosting win for Ewan, who is coming off a series of setbacks last year and will be determined to stamp his authority on the sprint finishes over the next week at the Tour Down Under.

Earlier on Saturday, New Zealand criterium champion Ally Wollaston showcased her circuit racing skills to take out the women's Scwalbe classic.

New Zealand cyclist Patrick Bevin (Team DSM) crashed out late in the one-hour men's race.

Ewan beat Belgian Jordi Meeus (Bora-Hansgrohe), with fellow Australian sprinter Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck) third.

Ewan, 28, is racing for the Australian national team this week at the Santos Tour Down Under because his Lotto Dstny team has lost its World Tour status.

It was that sort of 2022 for Ewan, who did not win any stages at the Tour de France or Giro d'Italia.

He needed shoulder surgery after the Tour, ruling him out of the Commonwealth Games, and was a controversial exclusion from the Australian team for the September world road championships in Wollongong.

Australian selectors went with Michael Matthews instead as the protected rider for the elite men's road race and he won a bronze medal.

Ewan pulled out of the national criterium championships in Ballarat last week because he was feeling unwell.

He was with the lead group in the Australian championships road race last Sunday, but lost contact late in the race and finished 18th.

The men's tour starts late on Saturday afternoon with a prologue time trial - the first time the tour has featured a race against the clock since it started in 1999.

The tour returns to the World Tour after two years as a domestic race because of COVID-19.

Wollaston, racing for the New Zealand national team, was in an eight-rider breakaway that dominated the one-hour women's race.

The 22-year-old from Auckland took out the reduced sprint to win ahead of compatriot Michaela Drummond (Zaaf), with Dutch rider Nina Buysman (Human Powered Health) completing the podium.

The powerful Australian-based Jayco AlUla (sic) team was well-represented in the break with Ruby Roseman-Gannon and Georgie Howe.

But they could not capitalise and Rosman-Gannon was the first Australian in fourth place.

The break formed early in the hot conditions, with Howe a key aggressor.

It led by nearly a minute on the 1.35km circuit, before the peloton unsuccessfully tried to shut it down.

Wollaston has been preparing for upcoming track events and was unsure about her road form.

She said the win is a big confidence boost ahead of the three-day women's Santos Tour Down Under, which starts on Sunday and will be a World Tour event for the first time.