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Caleb Ewan sprinted to his second victory so far at this year’s Tour de France on Wednesday’s stage 11, winning a close battle in Poitiers.
After late attackers Lukas Postlberger and Bob Jungels were reeled in, the stage came down to a hectic bunch kick. Wout van Aert was the first big name to go and the Belgian led the way into the last hundred meters before others surged past. Ewan and Sam Bennett came up on van Aert’s left, while Peter Sagan pushed his way through with his shoulder and his helmet on van Aert’s right next to the barriers.
Ewan, Sagan, and Bennett were closely matched all the way to the line. On the bike throw, Ewan finished just ahead of Sagan, who crossed the line just ahead of Bennett. Upon review of the finish, however, the race jury decided to relegate Sagan to last place in the group for his aggressive move to pass van Aert, giving Bennett runner-up honors on the day and putting van Aert in third.
What’s more, Sagan’s relegation took him out of the running for any points on the stage, propelling Bennett further ahead in the green jersey battle.
Primoz Roglic finished safely in the peloton to maintain his position atop the GC standings with no changes in the overall top 10.
The 167.5-kilometer stage from Châtelaillon-Plage saw Mathieu Ladagnous solo away early on as a the day’s main breakaway rider. He built a decent gap over the bunch, but the sprinters’ teams saw to it that he was never a real danger of staying clear, and he was reeled back in with around 40 kilometers to go.
Shortly after the pack caught Ladagnous, Gregor Mühlberger climbed into the team car. Then, Ion Izagirre went down hard in a crash, ultimately abandoning the race.
With around five kilometers to go, Postlberger shot off the front, and Jungels and Kasper Asgreen were quick to follow. The trio built a small gap as the other teams scrambled to react. After Asgreen dropped back with three kilometers to go, Jungels and Postlberger pressed on, but they were caught a kilometer later.
The catch set up a bunch sprint. B&B Hotels-Vital Concept and NTT had a strong presence at the front into the final 500 meters but as the lead-out riders peeled off, several sprinters launched at once. Van Aert led early but he was passed on both sides, with Ewan closing the final meters with a huge burst of speed. The 26-year-old Australian put in a big bike throw to hit the line first.
Top 10, stage 11
1 EWAN Caleb (Lotto Soudal) 4:00:01
2 BENNETT Sam (Deceuninck – Quick Step)
3 VAN AERT Wout (Team Jumbo-Visma)
4 COQUARD Bryan (B&B Hotels – Vital Concept p/b KTM)
5 VENTURINI Clément (AG2R La Mondiale)
6 PEDERSEN Mads (Trek – Segafredo)
7 MEZGEC Luka (Mitchelton-Scott)
8 HOFSTETTER Hugo (Israel Start-Up Nation)
9 NAESEN Oliver (AG2R La Mondiale)
10 GIBBONS Ryan (NTT Pro Cycling)
Top 10, GC
1 ROGLIC Primoz (Team Jumbo-Visma) 46:15:24
2 BERNAL Egan (INEOS Grenadiers) 0:21
3 MARTIN Guillaume (Cofidis, Solutions Crédits) 0:28
4 BARDET Romain (AG2R La Mondiale) 0:30
5 QUINTANA Nairo (Team Arkéa Samsic) 0:32
6 URÁN Rigoberto (EF Pro Cycling)
7 POGACAR Tadej (UAE-Team Emirates) 0:44
8 YATES Adam (Mitchelton-Scott) 1:02
9 LÓPEZ Miguel Ángel (Astana Pro Team) 1:15
10 LANDA Mikel (Bahrain – McLaren) 1:42
In other news
| Woods surges into Tirreno-Adriatico lead with stage 3 win
Mike Woods climbed to his first victory of 2020 on Wednesday at Tirreno-Adriatico.
On a 217-kilometer day of racing from Follonica to Saturnia, the 33-year-old Canadian jumped clear of the peloton alongside Rafal Majka on the short but very steep Poggio Murella. The pair held on out front to battle for the finish between themselves, and Woods proved fastest in the uphill sprint to the line. Majka settled for second with Wilco Kelderman taking third 20 seconds beind Woods.
Woods’s strong ride propelled him into the race lead. He now sits atop the general classification with a five-second gap to Majka.
| Philipsen signs with Alpecin-Fenix
Jasper Philipsen is headed to Alpecin-Fenix next season, the team has announced.
The 22-year-old Belgian speedster has ridden with UAE-Team Emirates since 2019 after emerging as a top prospect during his time with Hagens Berman Axeon. He is headed to Alpecin-Fenix, the team of Mathieu van der Poel, on a two-year deal.
| Lauren Stephens wins the Tour de l’Ardeche as Hosking takes the final stage
Lauren Stephens wrapped up the overall title at the Tour de l’Ardeche on Wednesday, finishing safely in the seventh and final stage.
After surging into the GC lead on stage 5, Stephens held on over the last two days to secure the top spot on the final podium, with Mavi García taking GC runner-up honors and Anna Kiesenhofer in third.
The final stage came down to a bunch kick in Beauchastel. Chloe Hosking sprinted to the victory, her second so far this year, with Alice Barnes in second and Katarzyna Wilkos in third.
| Coming up at the Tour
Stage 12 is a deceptively difficult one. Despite its lack of any huge climbs, the parcours is constantly up-and-down on the long run of 218 kilometers from Chauvigny to Sarran. It looks like a good day for a breakaway.
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Today’s featured image of Caleb Ewan winning stage 11 of the Tour de France comes from the Grubers.