Australian rider Caleb Ewan stormed to victory to take his second stage win at this year’s Tour de France in Nimes today.
The 25-year-old, who outsprinted Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) to win stage 11, executed a powerful acceleration over the final 100m to come from eighth position to clinch it.
Ewan had enough left in the tank at the end of the 177km stage to beat Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) into second, with Groenewegen completing the podium.
“To be honest I felt so bad today during the day,” said the stage winner.
“I think the heat really got to me and I was suffering so much and was about to tell Max [Monfort] to go up to the front because I was really suffering.”
He said they were not in an ideal situation with 1km to go. Deceuninck-Quick-Step riders came past him and he lost a few more positions.
“I looked at this finish at the start of the day and I played all the scenarios in my head and one of them was if I was too far back. I think if you watch it I really take a run at it and start sprinting before the rest of the guys, and it worked.
“It’s a dream to be here. It was such a big dream to win one stage and now I’ve won two. I can’t believe it,” said Ewan.
The break of the day consisted of Alexis Gougeard (AG2R La Mondiale), Stephane Rossetto (Cofidis), Łukasz Wiśniowski (CCC Team), Paul Ourselin (Total Direct Energie) and Lars Bak (Dimension Data), who had a maximum lead of just over two minutes to the peloton.
The group, which formed soon after the start and led for 167km, were pegged back by the bunch with 2km to the line.
Two moments of drama happened during today’s racing. The first came when defending champion Geraint Thomas (Ineos) crashed at low speed with 131km to go. Fortunately, he quickly rejoined the peloton and did not suffer any injuries.
Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), who placed ninth overall, was not so lucky. He crashed in the peloton with 27km remaining, was assessed by doctors and then forced to abandon the Tour.
Thomas crossed the line with a few bumps and grazes, but still lying second in the general classification, 95 seconds behind Deceuninck-Quick-Step’s Julian Alaphilippe.
Though the Welshman is in pole position in the GC should Alaphilippe fall away as expected in the Alps, four riders are bunched up within 39 seconds of him, with the Tour as wide open as it has been for many a year going into the final stages.