Tour de France 2019: Caleb Ewan earns first stage win in Toulouse with narrow victory

Caleb Ewan: The Australian celebrates his stage 11 win at the 2019 Giro d'Italia
Caleb Ewan: The Australian celebrates his stage 11 win at the 2019 Giro d'Italia

Caleb Ewan's first career Tour de France stage win came by the narrowest of margins as the Australian edged out Dylan Groenewegen by the width of a wheel rim in Toulouse.

The 25-year-old Australian, riding the Tour for the first time, came around Groenewegen after the Dutchman launched his sprint with 200 metres of the 167km stage 11 from Albi remaining and took it by inches.

Ewan, who has stage wins in the Giro d'Italia and La Vuelta to his name, had made no secret of the fact a Tour victory was what he craved the most.

"I can't believe it," he said. "I've been close in the last four sprints and my team never lost faith in me and I never lost faith in my sprinting. I knew if everything came together I could be fastest on the day and today I showed that...

"Since childhood there is no other race I've dreamt of winning. Watching in Australia, the Tour seems so far away - I can't believe I'm even here but to win a stage is a dream come true."

Yellow jersey holder Julian Alaphilippe and defending champion Geraint Thomas finished safely in the pack to ensure there was no change at the top of the general classification, in which Alaphilippe leads Thomas by 72 seconds as the race heads to the Pyrenees on Thursday.

Thomas' Ineos team-mate Egan Bernal finished 13th on the stage to stay a further four seconds behind Thomas in third place.

After Tuesday's rest day and Monday's chaotic finish in crosswinds, Wednesday's stage was a much more sedate affair as the peloton followed the Tarn west out of Albi.

A four-man breakaway including serial escapee Stephane Rossetto of Cofidis was kept on a short leash, with their advantage never quite reaching three minutes, a gap which began to tumble as Toulouse came into view.

Threatened crosswinds never materialised in the finale, although there was a little late drama as a crash held up Movistar's Nairo Quintana and Trek-Segafredo's Richie Porte, who needed five kilometres to be paced back onto the pack.

However, Porte's team-mate Giulio Ciccone - who wore the yellow jersey for two days after finishing second on stage six to La Planche des Belles Filles - was not so lucky as he limped home with injuries that saw him lose his 10th place in the general classification.

Wanty Gobert's Aime De Gendt went solo from the breakaway with 10 kilometres left, pulling more than 40 seconds clear, but he was reeled in on the long drag up into town as the sprint trains moved to the fore.

Just as De Gendt had made his move, another spill in the peloton saw a key member of Ewan's Lotto-Soudal lead-out train Jesper De Buyst land in a ditch, but Ewan would instead surf the wheels.

Mike Teunissen, winner of the opening stage in Brussels, led out his Jumbo-Visma team-mate Groenewegen but after he pulled off, Ewan had the power to come around the Dutchman in the nick of time.

Alaphilippe's Deceuninck-Quick Step team-mate Elia Viviani took third with Bora-Hansgrohe's Peter Sagan fourth in the green jersey.

The next moves in the battle for yellow could come on Thursday's 209.5km stage 12, which takes the riders from Toulouse to Bagneres-de-Bigorre via climbs of the Peyresourde and the Hourquette a'Ancizan.

Tour de France: Stage-by-stage guide

July 18, Stage 12: Toulouse to Bagneres-de-Bigorre (209.5km)

And so to the Pyrenees, though stage 12 is just a warm-up. Two category one climbs, the Peyresourde and the Hourquette d'Ancizan, provide the focus before a long descent into Bagneres-de-Bigorre where Ireland's Dan Martin took his first stage win in 2013.

July 19, Stage 13: Pau to Pau (27.2 time trial)

The only individual time trial of this year's Tour will be a test of strength over a rolling course, but also a test of the head. Go too deep and riders will surely be burned on the mountain tests to come over the weekend. The eventual winner of the Tour has finished in the top four of every long time trial since 2011 but this time they may prefer to save their legs.

July 20, Stage 14: Tarbes to Tourmalet Bareges (117.5km)

The first of the five HC climbs comes on stage 14 - a short, sharp 117.5km race to the summit of the storied Tourmalet. The highest surfaced climb in the Pyrenees has featured in the Tour 87 times but this will be only the second stage finish at the summit.

July 21, Stage 15: Limoux to Foix Prat d'Albis (185.5km)

The second summit finish in a row comes on a more traditional Pyrenean stage, which rolls over several testing climbs, sapping the legs and the minds. However, there is no tradition to the finish with the Prat d'Albis making its Tour debut.

July 23, Stage 16: Nimes to Nimes (177km)

After the second rest day comes a pretty flat stage, though with constant changes of direction on a loop starting and finishing in Nimes, the sprinters' plans could be disrupted if the Mistral wind blows.

July 24, Stage 17: Pont du Gard to Gap (200km)

And so towards the Alps, though stage 17 features none of the big passes on a day of gradual climbing up to Gap. This is the stage in the race where breaks are often allowed to stay clear as the battle for yellow rages behind, but this day has been made to be utterly unpredictable. A punchy final climb of the Col de la Sentinelle could be a springboard, while it's not inconceivable some of the sprinters survive in the main group.

July 25, Stage 18: Embrue to Valloire (208km)

There may only be five HC climbs in the entire Tour, but two of them come in a single day as the riders tackle the Izoard and the Galibier before dropping down to the finish in Valloire. The stage winner should come from whichever group first crests the Galibier - appearing for the 60th time as the Tour's most regular Alpine venue - and this could be a decisive day overall.

July 26, Stage 19: Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to Tignes (126.5km)

Stage 19 is a leg-sapping day designed to test the resolve of anyone planning a late move in the general classification. The Iseran - at 2,770m the high point of the Tour - comes in the middle of the stage and casts a long shadow before the shorter climb to Tignes offers an opportunity for attacks.

July 27, Stage 20: Albertville to Val Thorens (130km)

The last chance saloon for GC hopefuls does not look an inviting one. The final climb of the Tour is the 33.4km HC slog up to Val Thorens. If ever there was a Tour designed for a true climber, one with only a handful of time trial kilometres and four HC climbs in the last three days could be it.

July 28, Stage 21: Rambouillet to Paris Champs-Elysees (128km)

There are two big questions on the final day. Will the yellow jersey winner choose a few glasses of champagne or, as Geraint Thomas did last year, prefer a beer or two as they celebrate along the roads of the Parisian suburbs? And which sprinters will have survived the mountains in order to battle it out on the Champs-Elysees?

Like what you've read?
Help your friends Know It All by sharing this article to your social media.

Most Read

Don't miss the latest Value Bet preview for York1

Value Bet: Wells can go Farhh

Our racing expert Ben Linfoot has three Value Bet selections for day four of the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival at York including two in the £1m Sky Bet Ebor.

Oli Bell looks ahead to the action on the Knavesmire2

Oli Bell: Saturday Best Bets

ITV Racing's Oli Bell is back with four more bets for Sky Bet Ebor Day at York and he fancies Roger Charlton's Withhold in the feature.

Sheikh Hamdan with his brilliant sprinter Battaash3

York Diary: Batt brings his A-Game

Ben Linfoot was at York to see Battaash take down Dayjur's 30-year course record in tremendous style in a turf-scorching Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes.

Simon Holt picks out his best bets for York
4

Simon Holt: A Must read

Mustajeer can improve on last year's Sky Bet Ebor fourth, according to Simon Holt who has three bets for Saturday's action at York and Goodwood.

Aston Villa take on Everton at Villa Park. Check out or preview & best bets5

McGinn the tonic for Villa

Aston Villa are expected to finally get their first Premier League point of the season from a tough match-up against Everton on Friday night.

Most Read

Don't miss the latest Value Bet preview for York1

Value Bet: Wells can go Farhh

Our racing expert Ben Linfoot has three Value Bet selections for day four of the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival at York including two in the £1m Sky Bet Ebor.

Oli Bell looks ahead to the action on the Knavesmire2

Oli Bell: Saturday Best Bets

ITV Racing's Oli Bell is back with four more bets for Sky Bet Ebor Day at York and he fancies Roger Charlton's Withhold in the feature.

Sheikh Hamdan with his brilliant sprinter Battaash3

York Diary: Batt brings his A-Game

Ben Linfoot was at York to see Battaash take down Dayjur's 30-year course record in tremendous style in a turf-scorching Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes.

Simon Holt picks out his best bets for York
4

Simon Holt: A Must read

Mustajeer can improve on last year's Sky Bet Ebor fourth, according to Simon Holt who has three bets for Saturday's action at York and Goodwood.

Aston Villa take on Everton at Villa Park. Check out or preview & best bets5

McGinn the tonic for Villa

Aston Villa are expected to finally get their first Premier League point of the season from a tough match-up against Everton on Friday night.

Racing Tips

Don't miss the latest Value Bet preview for York

Value Bet: Wells can go Farhh

Our racing expert Ben Linfoot has three Value Bet selections for day four of the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival at York including two in the £1m Sky Bet Ebor.

Simon Holt picks out his best bets for York

Simon Holt: A Must read

Mustajeer can improve on last year's Sky Bet Ebor fourth, according to Simon Holt who has three bets for Saturday's action at York and Goodwood.

Oli Bell looks ahead to the action on the Knavesmire

Oli Bell: Saturday Best Bets

ITV Racing's Oli Bell is back with four more bets for Sky Bet Ebor Day at York and he fancies Roger Charlton's Withhold in the feature.

Next Race Off

20:58 Monmouth Park
3
(3)
Evan's Nice Now
J: Hector Jr Diaz
8
(8)
Whyisshesoolucky
J: Harry Hernandez

Football Tips

The latest Sporting Life football Accumulator

Sporting Life Accumulator

The latest Sporting Life Accumulator involves four teams across the three divisions enhanced to 14/1 by the EFL title sponsors Sky Bet.

Sporting Life Price Boost for Saturday, August 24

Price Boost: Premier League treble

Sky Bet have enhanced the odds on a treble on Saturday's Premier League matches, exclusively for Sporting Life readers.

Sporting Life's Premier League preview package

Super Sunday: City much too slick

Three games on Sunday to get stuck into and we're backing a couple of comfortable wins for Spurs and Man City and a few goals at Molineux.