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Caleb Ewan Proves Himself the Best Sprinter on Crazy Stage 16

By Monica Buck

After André Greipel moved to Arkéa-Samsic, Lotto Soudal had to find a new young prospect to replace him. Caleb Ewan, whose talent might have been neglected at Mitchelton-Scott, proved himself more than worthy of the challenge. Of all the sprinters in the peloton, it’s the 25-year-old who has managed to win two stages this year. And the stage he claimed yesterday was certainly far from ordinary.

It was largely believed that the 177 kilometres around Nimes would not have the GC contenders sweating. It should have been a relaxing day after the hard work in the Pyrenees. However, the scorching heat and a couple of crashes changed this premise very quickly. First it was Geraint Thomas who went down after his gears jammed. Luckily, the reigning champion was unharmed and managed to get back to the peloton with the help from his teammates.

Jakob Fuglsang wasn’t that lucky. After a crash in the final 30 kilometres, he took off his helmet and abandoned the race for good. The Astana rider slowly climbed his way to the top-10 in the last couple of stages and might have very well improved his personal best at the Tour, seventh place from 2013.

Peter Sagan finished fourth yesterday, but should be anything but sad. He’s leading the points competition by 85 points over Viviani and only needs to make it to the Champs Elysees to claim the record-breaking seventh Škoda Green Jersey.

The scorching heatwave should continue today, and the temperatures are expected to hit 38 degrees. Even the sprinters might be looking forward to the Alps after stage 17.

General classification after stage 16

1. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) – 64:57:32
2. Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos) + 1:35
3. Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) + 1:47
4. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) + 1:50
5. Egan Bernal (Team Ineos) + 2:02
6. Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) + 2:14
7. Mikel Landa (Movistar) + 4:54
8. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) + 5:00
9. Rigoberto Urán (EF Education First) + 5:33
10. Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) + 6:30