Tour de France 2019: Caleb Ewan Edges Dylan Groenewegen to Win Stage 11

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistJuly 17, 2019

Australia's Caleb Ewan (frontC) wins past Netherlands' Dylan Groenewegen (R) and Italy's Elia Viviani (L) on the finish line of the eleventh stage of the 106th edition of the Tour de France cycling race between Albi and Toulouse, in Toulouse on July 17, 2019. (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP)        (Photo credit should read ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images)
ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/Getty Images

Caleb Ewan won a dramatic sprint finish on Wednesday during Stage 11 of the Tour de France.

The Australian pipped Dylan Groenewegen on the line, with several riders fighting for victory.

Elia Viviani and Peter Sagan were close to the front, but the Lotto Soudal racer prevailed in Toulouse.

Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe retained the yellow jersey, with reigning champion Geraint Thomas second by one minute and 12 seconds.

                                         

Stage 11 Result

1. Caleb Ewan, Lotto Soudal

2. Dylan Groenewegen, Team Jumbo-Visma

3. Elia Viviani, Deceuninck-QuickStep

4. Peter Sagan, Bora-Hansgrohe

5. Jens Debusschere, Team Katusha Alpecin

6. Sonny Colbrelli, Bahrain-Merida

7. Jasper Philipsen, UAE Team Emirates

8. Cees Bol, Team Sunweb

9. Alexander Kristoff, UAE Team Emirates

10. Warren Barguil, Team Arkea Samsic

                                           

General Classifications

1. Julian Alaphilippe, Deceuninck-QuickStep, 47 hours, 18 minutes, 41 seconds 

2. Geraint Thomas, Team Ineos, +0:01:12 

3. Egan Bernal, Team Ineos, +0:01:16 

4. Steven Kruijswijk, Team Jumbo-Visma, +0:01:27 

5. Emanuel Buchmann, Bora-Hansgrohe, +0:01:45 

6. Enric Mas, Deceuninck-QuickStep, +0:01:46 

7. Adam Yates, Mitchelton-Scott, +0:01:47 

8. Nairo Quintana, Movistar Team, +0:02:04 

9. Daniel Martin, UAE Team Emirates, +0:02:09 

10. Thibaut Pinot, Groupama-FDJ, +0:02:33

The full results are available from the Tour de France's official website.

                          

The 167-kilometre ride offered sprinters the chance of gaining vital seconds in the battle for the green jersey. The GC contenders hustled for position, but the shorter stage offered a breather for many in the peloton.

Lotto Soudal positioned themselves with 15 kilometres to go, and Team Sunweb, Deceuninck-QuickStep and Jumbo-Visma followed suit. The descent towards the finish line was expected to be fast, and the sprinters did not disappoint.

The stage contenders carved out a 20-second lead and made sure they were organised before the finishing line was in sight.

Groenewegen was the first man to attack in the final kilometre, but the front-runners were already producing an incredible pace. Ewan stuck close to the Dutchman, and his timing was perfect for the last push.

The pair rode shoulder to shoulder, but the Aussie had the momentum to nudge ahead of the Jumbo sprinter.

Per Daniel Benson of CyclingNews.com, Ewan spoke about his delight at winning the first Tour stage of his career:

"To be honest I can't believe it. I've been close in the last four sprints I've done, and my team never lost faith in me. I never lost faith in my sprint. I knew if everything came together then I can be the fastest on the day, and I think today I showed that.

"I think with about 10km to go I got caught behind my teammate Jasper who crashed, and I was really at the back of the bunch. Roger [Kluge] came back for me, and he basically took me from the back of the bunch to Groenewegen's wheel in the last few kilometres. Once I had a bit of time to recover, luckily I had the legs to be able to win.

"There's no other race I've dreamt of winning since I was a young kid. I can't believe it. The Tour de France is something so distant from Australia, something we only watched on TV. I can't believe I'm even here, and to win a stage is a real dream come true for me."

As expected, there was little movement in the GC, and Alaphilippe continues with the maillot jaune. However, with the six mountain stages to come, the Frenchman will struggle to maintain his lead, with the climbers set to dominate over the puncheurs. Alaphilippe should be rapid over the descents but will feel the strain going uphill.

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