TDF Stage 11: Another Stage for Caleb Ewan

Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) took his second Tour de France victory this year, the fifth in his career, after he managed to fend off his rival Sam Bennett. Peter Sagan relegated whilst Primoz Roglic leads overall

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TDF Stage 11: Another Stage for Caleb Ewan

Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) took his second Tour de France victory this year, the fifth in his career, after he managed to fend off his rival Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick Step) in a tight sprint finish in Poitiers. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) continued his yellow odyssey from the Atlantic Coast to the centre of France. Peter Sagan was second across the line but his sprint was deemed dangerous after he nudged Wout van Aert out of the way as he raced down the barriers and Sagan was relegated to last place in the bunch kick.

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There were 163 riders took the start of stage 11 at Châtelaillon-Plage. Matthieu Ladagnous (Groupama-FDJ) attacked as soon as the go ahead was given to race and he made more than five minutes lead for himself at km 18 as the peloton didn’t react. Oliver Naesen (AG2R-La Mondiale), Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ), Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Lukas Pöstlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe), Tom Van Aesbroeck (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Michael Gogl (NTT) counter attacked at km 20.

Deceuninck-Quick Step wasn’t pleased with the composition of this group made of strong rouleurs who could threaten the much anticipated scenario of a bunch gallop so the breakway was brought back ten kilometres further. Due to the chase, Ladagnous’ advantage dropped to a minute at km 31 but the gap went back out as soon as the peloton was all together again.

Ladagnous took the only KOM point up for grabs at côte des Cherveux, km 91 and also passed the intermediate sprint in first with a lead 1’45″ before Sam Bennett extended his lead over Sagan in the Points classification.

Ladagnous became the author of the longest solo breakaway so far on the 107th Tour de France with more than 120km in the lead before he got caught 43km before the end. After Gregor Mühlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe) quit the Tour due to sickness, Ion Izagirre (Astana) abandoned after crashing at Lavausseau with 29km to go.

As the sprint approached, Lukas Pöstlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe) attacked with 7km to go before being joined by Kasper Asgreen and Bob Jungels (Deceuninck-Quick Step). It was all together again with 2km to go and in another tight finish between Ewan and Bennett while Sagan fought elbow to elbow with Wout van Aert on the right hand side. Photo-finish was needed to determine that Ewan took his second stage win while Primoz Roglic retained the yellow jersey for the third straight day.

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Caleb Ewan: “It was such a crazy finish. I was in the front with 1.5km to go and dropped back because of the head wind. After my first stage win I knew I had to keep calm and wait for the right time and the gap to open. That happened quite late to the finish. I did a big throw on the line and didn’t know if I won. I had a real desire to win today. After yesterday I was disappointed and I am so happy to repay my teammates with the win.”

“I am super happy with my two stage wins. One just takes the pressure off. Then after the first one you always want a second. And now I for sure want a third victory, especially in Paris with the Champs-Élysées. So I hope to get through the mountains and get another chance in Paris.”

“With Lotto Soudal we are down to five guys. That means we only have four guys to do the work for me in the sprint stages. After the hard work during the stage I had to manage with two guys in the final 10 kilometers. The other teams put us under a lot of pressure with the attacks. But my two guys rode like ten guys. They did such a terrific job.”

“My closest opponent Sam Bennett is one of my best friends. It is always business when it comes down to sprinting. But we are happy for each other when we win. I was very happy for him yesterday getting his first win. You saw how much it meant for him and I know how hard he worked for it.”

Sam Bennett: “I got separated from my teammates a little bit on the final kilometres. They helped a great bit during the stage, but on the final I got a bit isolated and I had to follow wheels the best I could until the moment came to launch the sprint. There was headwind and I found myself too close too early to the front of the bunch… So I tried to save energy, delay my sprint as much as I could, but I couldn’t lose more speed. Anyway, I’m glad I managed to limit my losses as much as I did. I don’t know how long I can hold this green jersey. The race is going to get harder and harder, but we will see how it goes.”

Wout Van Aert: He started the sprint early and got outsprinted in the last metres – “I was a little too far, but there was enough space on the right”, Van Aert said. “My only chance was to start the sprint early, otherwise I would definitely get boxed in. I started the sprint from too far to speak of a perfect sprint. However, I was still very close. When Sagan basically pushed me aside, I was so shocked that I lost my momentum. I think I could have won, but now I went from too far and that push made me lose some speed as well. I had a good sprint in my legs, but my positioning was not perfect. A sprint of more than three hundred metres, slightly uphill with headwinds was a bit too much if you have to cover so much distance.”

Peter Sagan: “Today, I had the speed and, in the sprint, I tried to go on the right side. I passed one rider easily, but then it got really narrow. I had to move to avoid the barriers and as a result, I got relegated. This cost me a lot of points but I still have not abandoned the fight for the green jersey.”

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Primoz Roglic “The team once again did a good job by bringing me to the finish line in one piece. Especially in the technical final with a few narrow passages. In the next few days we will see what happens. I certainly expect the necessary attacks, but tactically little changes for us. We have to focus on ourselves and do what we have been doing throughout the Tour. We cannot do more than our best. If the competition has plans, we will find out about them soon.”

“It is true that wearing the yellow jersey you shall never be caught sleeping, nor make any mistake. We have to remain very focused during the whole stage. It’s difficult to stay out of trouble with a whole bunch, especially in the finish… But team does a great job at that. Wout van Aert is an exceptional rider, but it isn’t only him. Everyone in this team does his part. This is why we have the yellow jersey. If you start to think about what can go wrong, a lot of things can happen… So we don’t. Everyone in the team focuses on his job for the…”

Matthieu Ladagnous: “I wanted to break away this morning. Despite the head wind, I tried to enjoy my day at the front. I had a bit of hope when six riders tried to bridge the gap but it didn’t work out so I continued solo. This is my eighth Tour de France but I believe it’s my first solo breakaway. We are a team of friends. We had the ambition to fight for GC with Thibaut Pinot. We don’t have this goal anymore so we look for other ways to be motivated. We count on the nice mountain stages to try and win them.”

Benoît Cosnefroy: “I sat up towards the end after I protected Romain Bardet from the wind for several kilometres. I didn’t have much left in my legs. Tomorrow it’s an important day for the polka dot jersey but also for the stage win that can be decided between those who will go on the offensive.”

Egan Bernal: “It’s been a hard stage, like all stages of the Tour de France, with a fair bit of headwind and a very fast finale. In the last kilometres it was important to stay at the front to avoid crashes. We’ve done it well and saved the day.”

Luka Mezgec: “It was a big fight for position before we hit the town, between 15 and 5km to go, and I was actually in a really good position so I was just following. It was also important to stay in a good position on the big road into the left corner at three kay to go and I was also with positioned.

“On the uphill drag I had no problem, but had to fight a little bit on the top into the last kilometre where I was still really well positioned but then the fight happened and I was in the wind too much.

“It was good enough for (seventh). It’s not the result I’m looking for, but the sensations are good and I just have to gamble a lot more for the right opening.”

1. Caleb Ewan Lotto Soudal 04:00:01
2. Sam Bennett Deceuninck-Quick Step
3. Wout Van Aert Team Jumbo – Visma
4. Bryan Coquard B&B Hotels-Vital Concept
5. Clément Venturini AG2R La Mondiale
6. Mads Pedersen Trek-Segafredo
7. Luka Mezgec Mitchelton-Scott
8. Hugo Hofstetter Israel Start-Up Nation
9. Oliver Naesen AG2R La Mondiale
10. Ryan Gibbons NTT Pro Cycling Team

24. Adam Yates Mitchelton-Scott
29. Nairo Quintana Team Arkea-Samsic
30. Jack Bauer Mitchelton-Scott
31. Miguel Angel Lopez Astana Pro Team
32. Primoz Roglic Team Jumbo – Visma
33. Egan Bernal INEOS Grenadiers
34. Tadej Pogacar UAE Team Emirates
57. Connor Swift Team Arkea-Samsic
61. André Greipel Israel Start-Up Nation
85. Peter Sagan Bora-Hansgrohe
117. Luke Rowe INEOS Grenadiers @ 02:58
150. Hugh Carthy EF Pro Cycling @ 04:25

1 Primoz Roglic Team Jumbo – Visma 46:15:24
2 Egan Bernal INEOS Grenadiers @ 21
3 Guillaume Martin Cofidis @ 28
4 Romain Bardet AG2R La Mondiale @ 30
5 Nairo Quintana Team Arkea-Samsic @ 32
6 Rigoberto Uran EF Pro Cycling @ 32
7 Tadej Pogacar UAE Team Emirates @ 44
8 Adam Yates Mitchelton-Scott @ 01:02
9 Miguel Angel Lopez Astana Pro Team @ 01:15
10 Mikel Landa Bahrain-McLaren @ 01:42
11 Richie Porte Trek-Segafredo @ 01:53
12 Enric Mas Movistar Team @ 02:02
13 Bauke Mollema Trek-Segafredo @ 02:31
14 Tom Dumoulin Team Jumbo – Visma @ 03:22
15 Richard Carapaz INEOS Grenadiers @ 03:42

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