Irishman Sam Bennett made a bid for two consecutive stage wins, but finished 2nd to Ewan in an exciting sprint finish
By Chuck Gibson (Interview quotes provided by Le Tour de France)
INTERNATIONAL (September 9, 2020) – Caleb Ewan of Australia won his second stage victory of the 2020 Tour de France in a furious sprint finish which saw him just edge out Sam Bennett from Ireland seeking a second straight stage victory in Stage 11 today.
The sprint finish highlighted an extraordinary day on the tour. Peter Sagan appeared to finish third just behind Ewan and Bennett, but was ruled to have impeded Wout Van Aert, and was dropped out of the finish result giving Van Aert third place for the stage. Rider Matthieu Ladagnous attacked early and went on a solo breakaway leading the race for over 3 hours only to be caught by the main group (peloton) with 43 km to go. Still he rode solo out front for more than 120 km – the longest solo breakaway so far in this 107th Tour de France.
“I wanted to break away this morning,” said Ladagnous. “Despite the head wind, I tried to enjoy my day at the front. This is my eighth Tour de France but I believe it’s my first solo breakaway.”
Lukas Pöstlberger also made a solo attack with just 7 km left in a bid to throw off the sprint groups and take a surprise stage win. He was caught as the whole group came together again with about 2 km left to race setting up the sensational sprint finish for Ewan and the rest of the sprinters. It took a photo finish to determine Ewan had indeed beaten Bennett for the stage win.
“It’s been a very hectic sprint,” said Ewan. “It was quite crazy. I wanted to win for my teammates. I’m super happy with two stage wins I want my third win in Paris.”
When it was all said and done, Primoz Roglic rode safely in holding onto the overall lead and retaining the Yellow Jersey for yet another day on the TdF.
“It is true that wearing the yellow jersey you shall never be caught sleeping, nor make any mistake,” said Roglic. “We have to remain very focused during the whole stage.”
There was no change in the top three leaders with Egan Bernal in second place overall 21 seconds behind the leader. In third place is Guillaume Martin just 28 seconds off the pace. In fact, the top seven riders are all within 44 seconds of Roglic and the overall lead.
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