Caleb Ewan doubles up as Peter Sagan gets relegated
Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) took his second Tour de France victory this year, the fifth in his career, after he managed to fend off his rival Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick Step) in a tight sprint finish in Poitiers on Stage 11
Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) continues his yellow jersey lead from the Atlantic Coast to the centre of France.
Caleb Ewan’s victory at Poitiers offers Lotto-Soudal its 40th stage victory on the Tour. Caleb Ewan, with 5 wins on the race, is the 3rd most successful rider of the Belgian team, behind Robbie McEwen and André Greipel who both claimed 11 stages on the Tour with Lotto.
With 6.2km remaining, Lukas went on the attack again to shake up the sprinters and disrupt the finale, The two riders from Deceuninck Quick Step who went with him were clearly suffering, and peeling off with 2.1km left, Lukas had burnt out two of the green jersey’s sprint train. In a race of pure power where the sprinters had to battle for the win without their teams supporting them.
Having fought for space on his way to the line, Peter was against the barriers and losing space, passing one rider but shouldered Wout Van Aert. The Slovak rider took second position, however, this incident in the closing meters of this tense finale saw Peter relegated from the day’s standings.
Ewan said afterwards, “It was very, very hectic. 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, and it did in the end. I had a real desire to win today after yesterday. I was quite disappointed with that sprint. I’m happy to repay my teammates with the win. I didn’t really know I’d won, I saluted just in case.”
How it unfolded
One of the last days for the sprinters, stage 11 was going to be hotly contested from the start to the finish line in Poitiers, 167.5km later, and only one fourth category climb would give the peloton cause to slow down. While the sprinters were confident the day would end in a sprint, one brave solo rider made the jump off the front. Never allowed to take more than a few minutes’ advantage, the gap was sitting at around 2:30 most of the day and the peloton seemed happy with this, only reacting when Lukas Pöstlberger went on the attack, taking five others with him in an attempt to push the pace, reeling him back in quickly.
It was only when the race entered its final 60km that the peloton started chipping away at the break’s lead. With Peter taking fourth in the intermediate sprint, attention turned to the finale. The lone leader of the stage was still out in front, but carrying their speed from the intermediate sprint, the bunch soon caught the escapee and absorbed them back into the bunch with 43km to go.
Having been struggling during the stage, Gregor Mühlberger abandoned the race with 30km remaining. While the Austrian rider had ridden well on Sunday – a strong performance after his crash at the Dauphiné – this was too much of an effort for him to recover from to ride well today.
VIDEO: 2020 Tour de France Stage 11 Highlights
2020 Tour de France Stage 11 Top 10
1 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal 04:00:01
2 Sam Bennett (Irl) Deceuninck-Quickstep
3 Wout van Aert (Bel) Team Jumbo-Visma
4 Bryan Coquard (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept
5 Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale
6 Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo
7 Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott
8 Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Israel Start-Up Nation
9 Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R la Mondiale
10 Ryan Gibbons (RSA) NTT Pro Cycling
2020 Tour de France GC after Stage 11
1 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma 46:15:24
2 Egan Arley Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers 00:00:21
3 Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis 00:00:28
4 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale 00:00:30
5 Nairo Quintana (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic 00:00:32
6 Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Pro Cycling 00:00:32
7 Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 00:00:44
8 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 00:01:02
9 Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Col) Astana Pro Team 00:01:15
10 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain McLaren 00:01:42