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Tuesday, 8 October, 2002, 12:21 GMT 13:21 UK
McEwen in confident mood
Robbie McEwen after a stage win on the Tour de France
McEwen has got used to winning in 2002

Robbie McEwen, the leading sprinter at this year's Tour de France, insists he will be the man to beat at the World Championships.

McEwen won Le Tour's green jersey at the end of July, the season's most coveted prize for the leading sprinters.

And the Australian Lotto-Adecco rider has flown into the world's top ten in the process, reaching number four.

The 30-year-old is among the leading contenders in the road race at the World Championships on Sunday alongside Germany's Erik Zabel and Italian Mario Cipollini.


I live in Belgium so it's almost a home race
Robbie McEwen on the World Championships

He told BBC Sport Online: "The media have made me one of the favourites but sadly there are 100 guys capable of winning it.

"That said, on my form, I'm definitely going to be the man to beat."

The championships are being held in Hasselt-Zolder, Belgium, another key advantage for McEwen.

"I live in Belgium so it's almost a home race," added McEwen. "I'm confident that will help me.

"My condition is fantastic with only a few days to go before the event. Everything is right on track - everything has gone exactly how I planned it.

"That favourite tag is just what I need - it really spurs me on."

McEwen is already many pundits' pick for cyclist of the year after a string of success throughout the entire season.

He started the year by being crowned Australian road race champion and won four stages on the Tour Down Under.

  McEwen factfile
DOB: 24.06.1972
Nationality: Australian
Team: Lotto-Adecco
Career best: 2002 - Tour de France green jersey

That was followed by double stage success on the Giro d'Italia, the green jersey on the Tour de France, which was capped by victory on the final stage in Paris, plus a host of other one-day victories.

Looking ahead to the worlds, he continued: "It's been my aim from when I set myself up for the season.

"I had three or four big goals - the Australian Championships, the Giro d'Italia, the Tour de France and the World Championships.

"I can't complain. I've achieved most of my goals and only this one really remains for me this season."

The Australian insists more of the same will come next season, after being given the added stability of a two-year extension to his current Lotto-Adecco deal.

"Everything with the team is going perfectly," he said. "When you feel good, you can always ride better.

"And I've never felt better."


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