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Tour: Ewan wins tight sprint and Alaphilippe leads


Australian Caleb Ewan after winning the second stage of the Tour de France by crossing the finish line in Sisteron, on Monday, August 31, 2020. (Kenzo Tribouillard, Pool via AP)

Photo: AP

Like the basketball player who makes his way through the defense. The skier who dodges the barriers as he crosses his descent. The footballer who dribbles before scoring a goal.

Australian Caleb Ewan traced the methods of other sports and asserted his strength in a massive finish to claim victory on Monday in the third stage of the Tour de France, in which Julian Alaphilippe remained the overall leader with his dramatic win on the day. previous.

After the first two days in the Mediterranean city of Nice, the Gallic round entered France by covering a 198-kilometer route with the finish line at the citadel of Sisteron, considered the gateway to Provence.

With 100 meters to go, Ewan trailed behind five runners before opening a space near the advertising barriers. After more than five hours of pedaling, Ewan moved to the left to pass Sam Bennett and claim his fourth stage win on a Tour, just over a wheel apart.

“I knew how to get in the middle of the wheels,” Ewan commented. “Coming from behind is a bit risky, but I was able to get close to the barrier and came out with great speed and it worked for me.”

Ewan’s nickname is the “Pocket Rocket,” because of its height of 1.65 meters (5.5 feet.) It responded to it by reaching a top speed of 68.8 kph (42.7 mph) in the final packaging.

It accelerated to perfection.

“In the last kilometer I was running too fast, so I backed off the wheels a bit,” said Ewan of the Lotto-Soudal team. “That gave me some rest for my legs before the final attack.”

Bennett, the Irish champion who is Alaphilippe’s colleague on the Deceuninck – Quick-Step team, crossed the finish line second. Italian champion Nizzolo came in third. They both had the same record from Ewan.

Ewan won three stages last year, including the last one on the Champs Elysees in Paris.

Alaphilippe came alongside the main squad to stay ahead of the overall standings, with a four-second lead over Adam Yates. Marc Hirschi is still third, seven seconds behind.

Colombian defending champion Egan Bernal climbed to sixth place, 17 seconds behind the leader.

The fourth stage on Tuesday will have the first uphill finish of this Tour, with the ascent to Orcières-Merlette, which should have as protagonists as climbers of the stature of Bernal.

The Tour, whose traditional July date had to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, will culminate in Paris on September 20.