Roglic in yel­low Ewan wins Tour’s Stage 11, Sa­gan rel­e­gated CYCLING

Arab Times - - SPORTS -

POITIERS, France, Sept 9, (AP): Aus­tralian sprinter Caleb Ewan se­cured his sec­ond stage vic­tory at this year’s Tour de France in a chaotic dash to the fin­ish Wed­nes­day that saw Pe­ter Sa­gan pe­nal­ized for barg­ing a ri­val.

Sa­gan, squeezed up against bar­ri­ers on the right-hand side of the fin­ish­ing straight, made room for him­self by lean­ing his left shoul­der into Bel­gian rider Wout Van Aert. The ir­reg­u­lar move cost Sa­gan his sec­ond place be­hind Ewan. The Slo­vakian was dropped back to 85th place.

Ir­ish rider Sam Ben­nett was bumped up to sec­ond and Van Aert to third.

Af­ter­ward, Van Aert and Sa­gan had a sharp ex­change of words.

“There wasn’t a gap and if you use your el­bows to open it up, I think it’s com­pletely against the rules,” said Van Aert, a two-time stage win­ner this year.

“It’s al­ready dan­ger­ous enough and I was re­ally sur­prised and shocked at the mo­ment that I felt some­thing,” he said. “Re­ally scared.”

In the race for the over­all win, Pri­moz Roglic stayed safe on the rolling ride to Poitiers to keep the race leader’s yel­low jer­sey. The 167-kilo­me­ter (104-mile) stage started on France’s At­lantic coast.

Ewan skirted Ben­nett in the last me­ters (yards) and threw his front wheel across the line.

“It was very, very hec­tic,” said Ewan. “Quite crazy.” The 25-yearold Ewan, rac­ing for the Lotto Soudal team, also won Stage 3 and three stages at his in­au­gu­ral Tour last year.

Sa­gan’s rel­e­ga­tion also cost him dearly in his hunt for the Tour’s green jer­sey, awarded to riders who col­lect the most points in sprints along the route and at fin­ishes. Los­ing sec­ond place cost Sa­gan 30 points and award

ed them in­stead to Ben­nett.

Ben­nett and Sa­gan have been locked in a tight duel for that prize, re­peat­edly tak­ing the jer­sey off each other. Sa­gan has a record seven green jer­sey ti­tles from pre­vi­ous Tours but is now see­ing Ben­nett get away from him, 68 points clear with few other op­por­tu­ni­ties for sprint­ers to shine be­fore the fi­nal dash on the Champ­sEl­y­sees in Paris on Sept 20.

The last week and a half of the Tour will see riders who are chas­ing the over­all ti­tle fight­ing to dis­lodge Roglic. He has a lead of 21 se­conds over sec­ond-placed Egan Ber­nal, last year’s cham­pion, and is 28 se­conds ahead of third-placed French rider Guil­laume Martin.

On Thurs­day, the re­main­ing 161

riders will tackle the long­est stage of this year’s route, a hilly 218-kilo­me­ter (135-mile) trek from Chau­vi­gny to Sar­ran. That will be fol­lowed Fri­day by an even tougher stage with a sharp moun­tain-top fin­ish that could prompt bat­tles be­tween the top con­tenders.

Given the chal­lenges ahead, the pack largely took it easy Wed­nes­day be­fore the fi­nal ap­proach to Poitiers.

Matthieu Ladag­nous, a 35-year-old French rider, punched on his ped­als just mo­ments af­ter the stage start, im­me­di­ately rac­ing into the front.

But no one joined him in the break­away, leav­ing him to ride alone for more than three hours and over 120 kilo­me­ters (75 miles) be­fore he was then swal­lowed up by the pack with 43 kilo­me­ters (27 miles) to go to the fin­ish.

Aus­tralia’s Caleb Ewan (right), goes wheel-to-wheel with Ire­land’s Sam Ben­nett as he races to the fin­ish line to win Stage 11 of the Tour de France cycling race over 167.5 km from Chate­lail­lon-Plage to Poi tiers on Sept 9. (AP)

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