Skip to main content

Ewan blames Sagan and Van Aert for crash near-miss at Tour de France

Australian Caleb Ewan of Lotto Soudal pictured at the start of stage three of the Tour de France cycling race 182km from Vejle to Sonderborg Denmark on Sunday 03 July 2022 This years Tour de France takes place from 01 to 24 July 2022 and starts with three stages in DenmarkBELGA PHOTO JASPER JACOBS Photo by JASPER JACOBS BELGA MAG Belga via AFP Photo by JASPER JACOBSBELGA MAGAFP via Getty Images
Caleb Ewan during stage 3 of the Tour de France (Image credit: JASPER JACOBSBELGA MAGAFP via Getty Images)

Caleb Ewan's face said it all as he crossed the line on stage 3 of the Tour de France and whizzed straight back to his team bus, hopping off the bike and onto the stairs in one swift movement.

He wasn't gesticulating wildly. In fact, he was still and composed. But he wore the stone-faced expression of a man who has almost grown accustomed to things going wrong.

It's been that sort of season for Ewan, who has barely had a clean run at a sprint all year. After having his rear derailleur damaged on stage 2, he was forced towards the barriers in Sønderborg on stage 3. Moving right, he had to stop sprinting to make sure he didn't hit the barriers and crash.

"I was definitely squeezed," Ewan told reporters after he'd showered and collected his thoughts.

"They started sprinting in the middle of the road, then the right side was free so I went to the right but then they all went down the right side."

The sprint was launched when QuickStep-Alpha Vinyl lead-out man Michael Mørkøv swung aside and Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) launched for the line with 200 metres to go. He moved towards the right-hand side of the road as he neared the line, but it was Peter Sagan (TotalEnergies) who was tracking Van Aert who ended up blocking Ewan's path.

"I think it started with Van Aert but then Sagan a bit more of a dramatic swing to the right."

Ewan was clearly aggrieved and felt he was "a couple of centimetres" from crashing heavily. He suggested that the deviation from the sprinting line could be enough to warrant punishment.

"If I kept sprinting and didn't brake, then I run into the barrier and of course something would happen. The rules are always interpreted differently. In some races they would get disqualified, in some races they won't get disqualified.

"Who knows what the rules are. They sprinted off their line but that's sprinting. There's always riders sprinting off line."

Ewan came to the Tour de France after once again lining up at the Giro d'Italia, but whereas he collected two stages in Italy last year, he endured what he described as "the Giro from hell" this May. The Tour de France is quickly shaping up the same.

"It's frustrating. I feel like I just haven't had the best of luck," he said.

"For sure I had the legs to win. I started sprinting at the same time as Dylan [Groenewegen]. If we drag race we are similar speeds, so I would have gone close. I'm not saying I would have won but I would have contested it."

Ewan travels from Denmark to France with the Tour circus on Sunday evening before a rest day on Monday. The race then continues with another potential sprint opportunity in Calais on Tuesday's stage 4. For all the frustration, Ewan remains optimistic that his luck will change between here and Paris.

"The positive thing is my form's good, the team's good, so for sure when my luck turns it will go my way," he said.

"As long as you're confident with your form, it'll have to go my way one day."

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

after your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Patrick Fletcher
Patrick Fletcher

Deputy Editor - Europe. Patrick is an NCTJ-trained journalist who has seven years’ experience covering professional cycling. He has a modern languages degree from Durham University and has been able to put it to some use in what is a multi-lingual sport, with a particular focus on French and Spanish-speaking riders. After joining Cyclingnews as a staff writer on the back of work experience, Patrick became Features Editor in 2018 and oversaw significant growth in the site’s long-form and in-depth output. Since 2021 he has been Deputy Editor - Europe, taking more responsibility for the site’s content as a whole, while still writing and - despite a pandemic-induced hiatus - travelling to races around the world. Away from cycling, Patrick spends most of his time playing or watching other forms of sport - football, tennis, trail running, darts, to name a few, but he draws the line at rugby.