Caleb Ewan sprints to maiden Tour de France stage victory!
Second stage victory for Lotto Soudal at the Tour!
Caleb Ewan finished second today in the fourth stage of the Giro d’Italia. The run-up to the punchy final climb was marred by a massive crash, which caused a big split in the peloton. Only a handful of riders would battle for the win in Frascati. With the ultimate corner in sight, the Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz attacked fiercely but Caleb Ewan realised the danger and launched an impressive sprint to chase him down. The Australian still reached the wheel of Carapaz but had to settle for second place at the end. European time trial champion Victor Campenaerts was involved in a crash at the very end of the stage but only has minimal hindrance of his wrist.
Right after the start, three Italian riders escaped. The peloton did not worry too much and granted Cima, Frapporti and Maestri - with a long day in the saddle ahead - over ten minutes advantage. Eventually, the trio was caught - after riding over 200 kilometres at the front - at ten kilometres from the line. Only moments later, a massive crash caused a split in the peloton. Around fifteen riders - including Caleb Ewan and Tosh Van der Sande - would battle for the stage victory in Frascati. At 500 metres from the finish, the Movistar rider Richard Carapaz surprised and attacked. Caleb Ewan started to chase and tried to catch the Ecuadorian rider with an impressive sprint. After a tremendous effort, the Australian still reached his wheel but it was Carapaz who was the first rider to cross the line.
Caleb Ewan: “The three-rider breakaway was a perfect situation. They were granted quite an advantage but that wasn’t really a problem due to the 235 kilometres long stage. We know it would be a hectic finale but we stayed at the front almost all day. I heard some riders crashing behind me. That way, I was part of around twenty riders at the front. The goal was to start the final two kilometres at the front, which also succeeded. The group was reduced step by step and Tosh kept me in the perfect position.”
“I saw Carapaz go at 500 metres from the line but at first, it was Team UAE that set the pace. With 300 metres to go I launched my sprint but eventually, I wasn’t able to pass him anymore. Today I once again proved that such finishes really suit me. As a sprinter, it is really hard to battle against better climbers like Ulissi, Roglič and Carapaz. Of course, I am disappointed because you not often get a chance to win a Grand Tour stage. Sunday I finished third, today second. Tomorrow, there’s a flat stage and I am convinced that I can once again battle for victory. It is only a pity that I wasn’t able to seize this opportunity. As a team we did great and unfortunately, that didn’t result in a win.”
The Dutchman Groenewegen won the opening stage of 4 Jours de Dunkerque. Unfortunately, Lotto Soudal rider Jelle Wallays - who returned to competition in Dunkerque - crashed at seventeen kilometres to go. The 30-year-old Belgian wasn’t able avoid a crash that happened in front of him and placed his hand to break the fall. At the moment, there is nothing to worry about but it remains to be seen whether there will be a possible swelling around the wrist. Enzo Wouters was the first Lotto Soudal rider to finish on 22nd place.