Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) bemoaned the lack of sprint opportunities at this year’s Tour de France after Lotto Soudal missed out on a victory again on stage 13.
The stage was won by Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) from the breakaway, after he outsprinted Great Britain’s Fred Wright and Hugo Houle (Israel-Premier Tech) in the final kilometre.
Earlier on in the stage, Australian sprinter Ewan suffered a heavy crash after appearing to touch wheels with a teammate as they rounded a tight left hand bend. Ewan, complete with a nasty gash on his right elbow, looked visibly shaken as he struggled to get back to his feet and had to be assisted by Lotto-Soudal staff.
The Australian was left clutching his left knee, which was also cut, for a few minutes before eventually re-mounting his bike and attempting to re-join the peloton.
After crossing the finishing line on a blisteringly hot day, Ewan said: “I felt really good today actually. That’s why we started to commit our guys to controlling the breakaway and they were doing a really good job. They never got too far ahead, but yeah, I don’t know what happened in the corner.”
He added: “My knee is really sore and my shoulder is pretty sore. I broke my collarbone last year, so hopefully that’s alright. Once I went down I didn’t feel so good anymore, and after a big chase to get back on before the final climb, I had nothing left really.”
Ewan explained that at this point in the race, opportunities are running out for the pure sprinters.
He said: “It’s stage 13 now and we’ve only had two bunch sprints. So yeah, it hasn’t been a great Tour for the sprinters. We saw today as an opportunity and we tried to take it, but yeah, bad luck again.”
The Lotto-Soudal sprinter has suffered severe crashes before in his career.
Earlier this year, Ewan competed in the Giro d’Italia and labelled this year's edition as “the Giro from hell.”
Admitting that he was on a run of bad luck, Ewan said: "I feel like I need to catch a break with my luck. It is what it is, and it's part of being a cyclist. Sometimes you have a run of bad luck and I'm having that now but hopefully it turns soon."
Sunday’s stage into Carcassonne could give the sprinters another chance before Paris. Stage 19, which finishes in Cahors, is also an opportunity for a sprinter, although with Wout Van Aert, Jakobsen and Groenewegen all showing good form in this year's Tour de France, Ewan’s path to the stage win he craves is far from clear.
Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1