Trio of targets for Robbie

Robbie McEwen already has four wins under his belt this season, and the Australian champion tells pr

Robbie McEwen already has four wins under his belt this season, and the Australian champion tells pr
PICTURE BY TDWSPORT.COM Speaking at the Tour of Qatar, Davitamon-Lotto's Robbie McEwen told procycling that he will be looking for "quality wins" in 2005, which include stage wins at both the Italian and French national tours. Coming to Qatar from Australia, with just a brief sojourn at home in Belgium, McEwen has already raised his arms in victory on eight occasions this season - but "I only really count the UCI races, so we'll call it four" - and has plans to do so many more times before the season is out. Winning four local criteriums in his build-up to taking the Australian national championships in mid-January, McEwen went on to win three stages in last month's Tour Down Under. Like in 2004, he missed Saturday's Doha International Grand Prix, instead flying into the Qatar capital that night, ready for the first stage of the Tour of Qatar on Monday. "I had to go back home to Belgium first for a few days after Australia to unpack the family," McEwen explained, who spent the winter Down Under. And despite third place in Tuesday's second stage in Qatar, the Australian will be taking it easy in the coming weeks. "I've been doing a lot of racing and travelling lately, so I need to recover a little, and then build up again to my goals. "My first real one of the spring is Het Volk, and then after that it will be stage wins at the Giro in May and then the Tour," McEwen, winner of the green jersey last July, said. "I pushed myself too hard here in Qatar last season, crashing on the first stage, and injuring my knee, but then still pushing myself hard - too hard - and ending up needing to take two weeks off the bike when I returned to Europe." Thursday's penultimate stage saw the sprinter already taking his own advice, and winding down, finishing the fourth stage in a large group more than half an hour down on rival Mario Cipollini (Liquigas). "We weren't quite eliminated today, but, to be honest, it would have been quite nice to have had a day to take it easy," McEwen smiled, referring to the fast average speeds over the last two stages, and perhaps thinking about a Friday by the pool at Davitamon-Lotto's hotel. With another of McEwen's sprint rivals, Belgian Tom Boonen (Quick Step), starting his season in Qatar, winning two of the four stages on offer so far, and with Cipollini seemingly having found his old form again, there could be some real sprint fireworks to look forward to this spring and summer.
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