Ewan sprints to victory on stage 16 of the Tour de France: Daily News Digest
Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
Caleb Ewan sprints to his second victory of this Tour de France on stage 16, Jakob Fuglsang crashes out of the race, Vincenzo Nibali says he was planning to hunt stages at the Tour before his team asked him to focus on the GC. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Caleb Ewan sprints to his second stage win of this year’s Tour de France
Caleb Ewan took his second stage victory of this year’s Tour de France on Tuesday’s stage 16. The 25-year-old Australian out-sprinted Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) and Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) in Nimes.
“To be honest I felt so bad today during the day. I think the heat really got to me,” Ewan said after his win. “I was suffering so much I almost told Max [Monfort] to get off the front. But I had extra motivation today. My daughter and my wife were here so I was so happy I could win for them.”
Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) finished safely in the peloton to retain his overall race lead.
With a mostly flat parcours, the 177-kilometer stage in and around Nimes was a big target for the sprinters, which meant the early breakaway was kept on a short leash, making the catch practically inevitable. Just the same, the day was not without drama. Geraint Thomas (Ineos) and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) both crashed in separate incidents.
Thomas remounted and quickly returned to the peloton but Fuglsang did not. The Danish rider ultimately abandoned the race due to injuries sustained in the crash.
💥 Crash for @GeraintThomas86! But it doesn't appear too serious for the defending champ, who is soon back on his way. 💪
— Tour de France™ (@LeTour) July 23, 2019
Preferring not to make the catch too early, the sprinters’ teams driving the pace in the peloton allowed the break to dangle off the front into the final three kilometers before mopping up the last escapees and setting up for the sprint.
Lotto-Soudal led the pack in the last kilometer but the Deceuninck-Quick-Step train took over to take the peloton through the final roundabout, putting Viviani into a great position for the final kick. With some ground to make up, Ewan wound up to speed behind and to the left of Viviani with 250 meters to go. Deceuninck-Quick-Step’s Max Richeze left little room for Ewan to sneak past as he peeled off the front moments later, but the Australian managed to get around him while still forging ahead at speed.
Despite the strong lead-out, Viviani could not match the surging Ewan, who took a clear win at the line, bringing his count of Tour stage wins to two after he won stage 11 in Toulouse.
“I looked at this finish at the start of the day and I played all the scenarios in my head and one of the scenarios I played was if I was too far back,” Ewan said, analyzing the sprint after his victory. “I think if you watch it, I lay off the wheel and really take a run at it and start sprinting before the rest of the guys, and it worked.”
Stage 16 results
1 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal 3:57:08
2 Elia Viviani (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep
3 Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
4 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
5 Niccolò Bonifazio (Ita) Total Direct Energie
6 Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb
7 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott
8 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
9 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
10 Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty-Gobert
1 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 64:57:30
2 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos 0:01:35
3 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma 0:01:47
4 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:01:50
5 Egan Bernal (Col) Ineos 0:02:02
6 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:02:14
7 Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar 0:04:54
8 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar 0:05:00
9 Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First 0:05:33
10 Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo 0:06:30
It’s hot in the south of France this week, so riders have to do whatever they can to stay hydrated.
💦 Hydration is key today ! 😉
— Tour de France™ (@LeTour) July 23, 2019
Rohan Dennis hits back
In yesterday’s Daily News we highlighted a piece by CyclingNews that reported on Rohan Dennis’ demanding nature. One part referenced him leaving the Tour of Pasque Country (aka Pais Vasco):
According to sources at the team, Dennis felt he had raced his scheduled two days in April and had therefore fulfilled his contractual obligations. According to sources, Dennis felt that two days at the Ardennes equalled two days in the Basque Country, and there was no need to carry on with the rest of the race. The team management were left scratching their heads when the world time trial champion packed his bags and duly left the race.
Below Dennis shows a screenshot of an email thread stating differently:
Rohan Dennis is currently back home in Adelaide after leaving the Tour de France under abrupt circumstances.
Fuglsang abandons the Tour de France
Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) is out of the 2019 Tour de France after crashing with some 30 kilometers to go in stage 16.
The 34-year-old Dane was sitting ninth overall when he went down, amid what has been the biggest year of his career so far. He entered the Tour among the top favorites to take yellow on the heels of big results at races like Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Critérium du Dauphiné.
Unfortunately, his crash and a resulting collection of what an Astana statement called “heavy contusions and abrasions of his hand, arms, and knees” have ended his Tour early, marking the second time in three years that Fuglsang has had to register a DNF in the event.
Nibali: Bahrain-Merida asked me to contend for GC
Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) had some interesting things to say in an interview with Corriere della Sera. The 2014 Tour de France winner told the Italian newspaper that his Bahrain-Merida team had asked him to focus on the GC at this year’s race even though he had planned otherwise.
“What was supposed to happen. I came here to aim for a few stages: I can’t handle two GTs in a row as a leader. The team asked me to contest for GC. I obeyed and got exhausted. Now if I go to the breakaway I’m burn out: I’m human”.
Why did Bahrain not respect the agreement?
Vincenzo Nibali “Ask them.”
“Who’s in charge? Well. They command in two or three. It’s not a simple situation, there’s no guidance. In cycling, you need a boss who understands cycling. I’ve had three: Ferretti, Amadio, Vinokourov. It worked”.
What could not work in such a situation?
VN “That to please the sponsor they send you ten days in winter pre-season on a small Croatian island without roads to train.
Your partner Dennis left the Tour in the middle of stage 12 for no reason.
VN “Rohan went crazy, like “Falling Down” (reference to the movie with M. Douglas, the Italian name of the movie would translate in english A day of ordinary madness). He may have been right on a lot of technical issues but he overthought. In cycling you don’t have to think too much otherwise stress kills you but not even too little because it’s not professional”.
Coming Up at the Tour
Stage 17 will take the Tour de France to Gap, gateway to the Alps.
As usual for a Tour stage into Gap, it features an intermediate profile that will favor either the opportunists in an early break or the more versatile riders in the pack.
In case you missed it …
Feature Image: Caleb Ewan wins stage 16 of the Tour de France. Photo: Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos © 2019