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Tour de France: Ewan pips Groenewegen in photo finish on Stage 11

Joe Robinson
17 Jul 2019

Australian sprinter takes close call against Gronewegen into Toulouse

Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) produced an electrifying sprint into Toulouse to beat Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) in a photo finish and take the win on Stage 11 of the 2019 Tour de France.

The Australian held his nerve sitting on the wheel of Groenewegen before pipping the Dutchman into second on the line, and taking the first Tour stage win of his career in the process.

Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-QuickStep) managed to roll in third but never really figured in the fight for the stage that was won through the sheer will and power of Ewan, who was visibly ecstatic at the finish.

It was an impressive victory for the 24-year-old who was left to chase back onto the front of the race in the final 8km after being caught out in a minor crash. He was delivered back to the front by a willing teammate.

As for the race lead, Julian Alaphilippe surfed the wheels into the finish line after leading the peloton into the final 3km, taking the yellow jersey into the Pyrenean mountains which start tomorrow.

Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos) also rolled in with the bunch to defend second place on GC.

A lot to win, a lot Toulouse

It was always going to be a day for the sprinters on Stage 11 to Toulouse. There were only two flat days left for the quick men to get anything out the race before the final day in Paris.

The 167km run from Albi to Toulouse only contained two categorised climbs in the first half of the race and a largely sedate second half into the line.

There was also no wind, unlike on Monday when crosswinds obliterated the race and saw the likes of Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) and Rigoberto Uran (Education First) haemorrhage time on the overall General Classification.

The calmer weather created a calmer atmosphere for racing with a four-man break of Aime De Gendt (Wanty-Gobert), Lilian Calmejane (Total Direct Energie), Stephane Rossetto (Cofidis) and local lad Anthony Perez (Cofidis) all taking the opportunity to give their teams vital air time.

They worked well through most of the day as they were likely aware of the sheer impossibility of the day's task. The gap ebbed and flowed around two minutes for most of the day as the likes of Jumbo-Visma and Deceuninck-QuickStep kept them in striking distance.

The peloton remained calm but fast, systematically reeling in the break with the likes of Tony Martin (Jumbo-Visma) and Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-QuickStep) doing the lion's share of the chase.

Nerves began to jangle in the closing stages as a crash for Direct Energie's Niki Terpstra in the last 30km saw the likes of Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Porte distanced from the bunch and in an unwanted fight to get back on terms with the leaders.

Luckily they got back in although Terpstra was forced to abandon the race with what looked to be a broken collarbone.

The break fractured in the final 10km, folding under the pressure from behind as De Gendt flicked the other three for a solo run for the line. The Belgian fought hard to stay away and even carried a 20 second lead into the final 5km. By 4.6km, De Gendt had been caught in what was a valiant effort.

Jumbo-Visma then took over proceedings to lead the race into the Toulouse finish line in what was a frantic sprint for victory.