28 Jun 2021

Australian sprinter Caleb Ewan has abandoned the Tour De France after a devastating crash in the final 200m of Stage 3.

Ewan had already claimed 17 points from the intermediate sprints in the previous two stages and was in a great position to challenge for the green jersey. He was tipped to win the sprinters Stage 3 after proclaiming he wanted to win a stage at all three Grand Tours this year.

That dream is now in tatters after the 26-year-old rider from team Lotto Soudal found himself boxed in with little room to manoeuvre with just 200m to go. At 60km/h, Ewan clipped the wheel of stage winner Tim Merlier and crashed into Peter Sagan.

"It all happened quite quickly," Ewan said. "I just remember I wanted to go quite early in the chicane and I started sprinting on the left, but saw the guys at the front were closing to the right, so I had to stop sprinting and hope for it to open up again.
"When all that happened I came next to Peter [Sagan] and we were quite close together on the wheel.
"Then when Merlier went again to the right I just touched the wheel and went down."
Source: AP (Philippe Lopez)
Source: AP (Philippe Lopez)

Ewan was in obvious pain as soon as he hit the concrete and in a post-race interview he said he knew he had done some serious damage:

"Usually when you crash, you don't feel so much because of the adrenaline," he said. 
"But straight away I felt a lot of pain, they were pressing on my collarbone and I could feel it clicking.
"It's the first bone I've ever broken, they told me it's broken in four spots and I have to get surgery on it to put it back in place.
"I think out of any bone to be broken it's one of the easiest to come back from, recovery-wise."

At the time of the brutal crash, Caleb was set in third place, just behind Belgian Alpecin-Fenix riders Merlier and Jasper Philipsen, who finished 1-2 on the stage. 

Ewan managed to cross the finish line before being immediately taken to hospital for treatment.

Peter Sagan crossed the finish line long after the peloton came through.

Caleb remains optimistic saying "This is part of cycling unfortunately,”.

"I just have to let this heal and when I can train again, I'll start training and speak with the team and look towards the future for what races are going to suit me the best.


The Santos Tour Down Under is part of the UCI World Tour

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