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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 7 March 2021

Caleb Ewan claims second victory in this year's Tour de France as Peter Sagan is punished for shoulder barge

Australian comes home first in tightly-contested sprint while Roglic stays in overall lead

Australian Caleb Ewan claimed his second victory in this year's Tour de France when he prevailed in a tightly-contested sprint to win Stage 11 on Wednesday.

The Lotto-Soudal rider threw his bike over the line to beat triple world champion Peter Sagan, who was later demoted to last place in the peloton after barging into Wouth van Aert in the sprint finish.

Belgian Van Aert made it clear he was unhappy making an angry gesture at the Bora-Hansgrohe rider on the line after he was pushed back into fourth place.

Ireland's Sam Bennett, who won Tuesday's Stage 10 and was hoping for a victory in Poitiers where compatriot Sean Kelly won on the Tour in 1978, had to settle for third. Bennett and Van Aert, though, were boosted up a place after Sagan's demotion.

Slovenian Primoz Roglic retained the overall leader's yellow jersey after a quiet day in the main bunch.

Ewan admitted his latest victory was far from easy. "It was very, very hectic," he said. I was really close to the front with three and then one kilometre to go, I was more forward than I wanted to be, especially with a headwind finish.

"I dropped back into the bunch but from there it was quite crazy. I knew from the first stage that I won that I had to stay calm and wait for the right time and right gap to open it did in the end.

"I didn’t really know I’d won, I saluted just in case. I did a big throw and you’re basically looking down at the road, so you don't see if you win or not. Sometimes you can feel it and I felt quite close.

"I’m super happy with two stage wins; one takes the pressure off and after the first one, you want a second. Now I want another, especially in Paris. I hope to get through the mountains alright and have another sprint in Paris."

After being shown footage of the Sagan incident, Ewan said: "Wow. Yeah, I mean, you know, in the end, we’re all really in the heat of the moment and it’s a Tour de France stage on the line.

"You’re not always thinking about safety, all you’re thinking about is getting to the line first. I’m sure Peter when he did that he meant no harm. Ok, it looks quite bad on TV and maybe he shouldn’t have done it but I’m sure he didn’t mean any harm by it."

Sagan's hopes of winning an eighth green jersey took a severe blow after Tour organisers relegated him down to 85th place on the stage and deducted all 43 points he gained.

The Slovak now lies on 175 points, 68 behind Deceuninck-Quick Step's Bennett who leads the points classification on 243.

UAE Team Emirates rider Tadej Pogacar finished 13th in the bunch sprint and remains 44 seconds behind leader Roglic.

Thursday's 12th stage is a 218-km ride from Chauvigny to Sarran.

Updated: September 9, 2020 08:56 PM


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