Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) ran a close second to winner Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quickstep) on Stage 10 of the Tour de France, with Ewan lamenting that he hadn't started his sprint a bit sooner.
By
SBS Cycling Central

9 Sep 2020 - 3:13 AM 

Stage 10 of the Tour de France was a nervy one for the peloton with constant shifts in direction, narrow roads and the threat of wind splitting the race ensuring that riders were kept on their toes.

Ewan managed to navigate his way through the tension of the stage to the sprint finish where he finished second behind Bennett after a near-perfect leadout from Michael Mørkøv.  

“It was super stressful,” said Ewan of Stage 10. “All the way from the start there was so much stress from the GC teams. They obviously want to keep their rider out of the wind and out of the splits.

"The sprinters also want to do the same. When the whole bunch has the same thing in mind, to all be at the front, it makes things very stressful. All in all, quite a stressful day."

Ewan was left to manage his own leadout at the finish, and latched on to Bennett's wheel with the intent of using the Irishman's slipstream to launch his own bid for victory.

"I lost my main leadout guy Jasper (de Buyst) to a mechanical so then I knew I had to set up the bunch by myself," said Ewan. "I had a few of the big guys with me to get me out of the bunch if I needed it.

"Obviously I followed Sam Bennett and I had to fight for his wheel because he had a good leadout there. In the end I had the wheel I wanted."

Ewan was questioned on whether the lack of a leadout had hampered his chances of getting the stage win.

“I was exactly where I wanted to be," said Ewan. "Obviously, I had to use a bit of energy to fight for his wheel there. In the end on his wheel there I was feeling good, but if I look back on that sprint I should have gone a bit earlier and tried to surprise him.

"I stuffed up my sprint a little bit and waited a bit too long and didn’t have enough room in the end to come round him."

The Tour continues with another opportunity for the fast men in a sprint finish. The 168-kilometre stage to Poitiers doesn't contain any significant climbs and the final kilometres look to suit the pure sprinters. 

"I haven’t looked too much into it," said Ewan, "but I know the final is a bit harder than today with a bit of uphill so that should suit me."

Stage 11 of the Tour de France is a 167.5 kilometre stage from Chatelaillon-Plage to Poitiers and looks like another chance for the sprinters. Watch the race on the SBS ŠKODA Tour Tracker from 9.15pm AEST, with television coverage starting from 9.30 AEST on SBS HD.