Tour de France 2019: Ewan wins stage 16 as Alaphilippe keeps lead over Thomas

Caleb Ewan wins stage 16 of the Tour de France
Caleb Ewan has now won two stages in his debut Tour de France

Australian Caleb Ewan won a bunch sprint to take stage 16 of the Tour de France, while Julian Alaphilippe retained the overall lead.

The Lotto Soudal rider surged from deep to pip Elia Viviani on the line in Nimes and take his second stage win.

Britain's Geraint Thomas crashed when his gears jammed with 130km to go.

The defending champion sustained grazes to his left-hand side but finished safely in the bunch to remain 95 seconds behind Frenchman Alaphilippe.

"I had one hand on the bars and the gears jumped and jammed and I got thrown off my bike on a corner," Thomas, 33, told ITV4.

"I knew the race wasn't on so I just got back into the group, it's just frustrating. It was such a freak thing."

While Thomas avoided serious injury, Astana's Jakob Fuglsang, who started the day in ninth overall, was forced to abandon after crashing with 27km remaining.

His team later said the Dane had not sustained any fractures but had "heavy contusions on his hand, arms and knees."

Thomas came down on an innocuous right-hand bend when his front wheel suddenly slipped from under him.

The Team Ineos rider has now crashed three times during the Tour and, although none have been serious, he will hope they do not add up to affect his form.

Only 39 seconds cover Thomas in second to Emanuel Buchmann in sixth, with three tough stages in the Alps that will determine this year's champion starting on Thursday.

A flat route and the lack of strong crosswinds to split the race meant there was little general classification action but this was still another testing day, with temperatures reaching 40C on the 177km stage, which also started in Nimes.

"I felt so bad during the day - the heat really got to me and I was suffering so much I was going to tell the team to get off the front of the peloton," Ewan said.

"But I had extra motivation - my daughter and wife are here and I'm so happy I could win for them. Now I've won two stages, I can't believe it."

With stage 16 the last opportunity for the sprinters before the final day in Paris, the five-man breakaway of Lars Bak, Alexis Gougeard, Paul Ourselin, Stephane Rossetto and Lukasz Wisniowski were never allowed to get much more than two minutes up the road.

They stayed away longer than expected but were caught inside the final 3km as the sprinters' teams took charge.

Deceuninck Quick-Step's Viviani looked in prime position with two team-mates leading him into the final 300m, but Ewan started his sprint early to make up the deficit, flying past his rivals and holding them off on the line.

Stage 16 result

1. Caleb Ewan (Aus/Lotto-Soudal) 3hrs 57mins 8secs

2. Elia Viviani (Ita/Deceuninck Quick-Step) Same time

3. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned/Jumbo-Visma)

4. Peter Sagan (Slv/Bora-Hansgrohe)

5. Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita/Direct Energie)

6. Michael Matthews (Aus/Team Sunweb)

7. Matteo Trentin (Ita/Mitchelton - Scott)

8. Jasper Stuyven (Bel/Trek-Segafredo)

9. Alexander Kristoff (Nor/Team Emirates)

10. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita/Wanty-Gobert)

General classification after stage 16

1. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra/Deceuninck Quick-Step) 64hrs 57mins 30secs

2. Geraint Thomas (GB/Team Ineos) +1min 35secs

3. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned/Jumbo-Visma) +1min 47secs

4. Thibaut Pinot (Fra/Groupama-FDJ) +1min 50secs

5. Egan Bernal (Col/Team Ineos) +2mins 2secs

6. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger/Bora-Hansgrohe) +2mins 14secs

7. Mikel Landa (Spa/Movistar) +4mins 54secs

8. Alejandro Valverde (Spa/Movistar) +5mins

9. Rigoberto Uran (Col/EF Education First) +5mins 33secs

10. Richie Porte (Aus/Trek-Segafredo) +6mins 30secs

Top Stories