On a quiet day for the GC, perhaps in anticipation for the mountains tomorrow, Stage 11 of Tour de France 2019 was all about the sprinters. Lotto-Soudal’s Caleb Ewan finally gets his Tour stage win (completing the grand tour set) with a photofinish against Jumbo-Visma’s Dylan Groenewegen, with Deceuninck-QuickStep’s Elia Viviani taking third. There was no change at the top of the GC standings – Julian Alaphilippe wears the maillot jaune for another stage.
Has this first week of the Tour de France been one of the most exciting in soooo many years, or what? Yellow jerseys won and lost; one day on top of the world, the next in the wrong echelon; the Tour keeps surprising us day after day.
A long, largely downhill, though lumpy stage into the beautiful city of Albi saw Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) take the first of what will assuredly be many grand tour stages. His brilliant long-range sprint obliterated the other sprinters, though runner-up Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-Quick Step) was on his wheel and came close with Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) back in third place. The sprint finish came from the leading group of around 30 riders after echelon action had rent the peloton asunder some 25km from the finish, wrong-footing a number of GC contenders. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) remains in pole position but he now has the INEOS duo of defending champion Geraint Thomas and best young rider Egan Bernal sharing the podium.