Caleb Ewan in the final time-trial. (Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images)

Caleb Ewan has locked down the Tour de France Lanterne Rouge classification

Not the Tour that Caleb Ewan was hoping for, but a place in history nonetheless.

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Australian sprinter Caleb Ewan has not, to this point, had a happy Tour de France. He crashed on stage 5. He crashed on stage 13. He was dropped in the mountains. He has, so far, been thwarted in this Tour’s few sprint stages. Now, on the eve of the Tour’s triumphant arrival in Paris, there is both good news and bad. 

Caleb Ewan, provisionally, has the Tour de France’s lanterne rouge locked down, having shed a minute and five seconds to his closest rival in the stage 20 time trial. 

One of the more richly mythologised cultural aspects of this race, the lanterne rouge refers to the slowest finisher of the Tour de France. There are many people that do not finish the Tour de France, just as there are many many more that do not start, so even if a rider is last in the race there is an underlying athletic excellence to it.  

In finishing the race as lanterne rouge, Ewan wins a €1,000 voucher1 from lastminute.com that he can use for whatever holiday he wishes.

An attempt to interview Caleb Ewan about his travel plans proved unsuccessful [ed. his teammate Reinardt Janse van Rensburg was eyeing Disneyland and/or Zanzibar, but alas, didn’t ride slowly enough to drop into the lead].

Tomorrow, the Tour de France concludes in Paris, where Caleb Ewan has a legitimate chance to win his first stage of this year’s race. He will possibly wear a special lanterne rouge themed number and be presented on the final podium, but the ASO has told CyclingTips that neither of these are mandatory.

Lotto Soudal did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Ewan’s plans.

1 Probably. lastminute.com has been, allegedly, a bit naughty in Switzerland, where prosecutors have frozen company assets and taken its CEO and other top executives into custody for COVID-subsidy fraud. Thanks to readers for the tipoff.

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