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Tour de France: Caleb Ewan edges thrilling sprint finish to win stage 11


Caleb Ewan

Australia’s Caleb Ewan (centre) has now won a stage in all three Grand Tours

Caleb Ewan edged a thrilling bunch sprint finish to win stage 11 of the Tour de France – the Australian’s first-ever stage victory.

The Lotto Soudal rider hunted down stage favourite Dylan Groenewegen and pipped him on the line in Toulouse.

Italian Elia Viviani finished the 167km flat ride from Albi in third place.

France’s Julian Alaphilippe retained the overall leader’s yellow jersey while Geraint Thomas remains second after a safe finish in the peloton.

“I can’t believe it,” said Ewan, who is riding his first Tour. “I have been close in the last four sprints I have done.

“My team never lost faith in me and I never lost faith in myself.”

Ewan, 25, was caught at the back of the peloton with 10km to go after his usual lead-out man Jasper de Buyst tumbled into a ditch in front of him.

But team-mate Roger Kluge paced him to the front during a fast run-in to the line and with Ewan on Groenewegen’s wheel, he passed the Jumbo-Visma rider inside the final few metres.

Ewan has now won stages in all three Grand Tours, having claimed three victories at the Giro d’Italia and one at the Vuelta a Espana.

“There is no other race I’ve dreamt of winning since I was a young kid,” said Ewan.

“It seemed so distant watching in Australia – I can’t believe I’m even here but to win a stage is a dream come true.”

Ewan’s victory means there has now been a different winner in each of the 10 individual stages so far – the first time this has happened since the 1996 Tour.

Peter Sagan was caught out of position and finished fourth but has extended his lead in the points classification as the Bora-Hansgrohe rider seeks a record seventh green jersey.

Most of the general classification contenders, including Ineos team-mates Thomas and Egan Bernal, had a largely untroubled ride after the first rest day, with no crosswinds to split the race apart like on Monday’s stage 10.

A four-man breakaway of Anthony Perez, Stephane Rossetto, Lilian Calmejane and Aime de Gendt went clear from the start, with last man De Gendt caught 4.5km from the finish.

Trek-Segafredo’s Richie Porte fell in a crash on a narrow section with 28km to go but was able to chase back alongside Movistar’s Nairo Quintana, who was caught behind.

However, Porte’s team-mate Giulio Ciccone, who had worn the yellow jersey earlier in the race, sustained injuries in the crash and lost 12 minutes to drop out of the top 10, while former Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix winner Niki Terpstra was forced to abandon.

Thursday’s stage 12 sees the race enter the Pyrenees for the first time, with a 209.5km mountainous route from Toulouse to Bagneres-de-Bigorre that could be crucial to the general classification.

Stage 11 result

1. Caleb Ewan (Aus/Lotto-Soudal) 3hrs 51mins 26secs

2. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned/Team Jumbo Visma) Same time

3. Elia Viviani (Ita/Deceuninck-Quick-Step)

4. Peter Sagan (Svk/Bora-Hansgrohe)

5. Jens Debusschere (Bel/Team Katusha-Alpecin)

6. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita/Bahrain-Merida)

7. Jasper Philipsen (Bel/UAE Team Emirates)

8. Cees Bol (Ned/Team Sunweb)

9. Alexander Kristoff (Nor/UAE Team Emirates)

10. Warren Barguil (Fra/Team Arkea-Samsic)

General classification after stage 11

1. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra/Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 47hrs 18mins 41secs

2. Geraint Thomas (GB/Team Ineos) +1min 12secs

3. Egan Bernal (Col/Team Ineos) +1min 16secs

4. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned/Team Jumbo-Visma) +1min 27secs

5. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger/Bora-Hansgrohe) + 1min 45secs

6. Enric Mas (Spa/Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 1min 46secs

7. Adam Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott) 1min 47secs

8. Nairo Quintana (Col/Movistar Team) +2mins 4secs

9. Daniel Martin (Ire/UAE Team Emirates) +2mins 9secs

10. Thibaut Pinot (Fra/Groupama-FDJ) +2mins 33 secs

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