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This time it was a crash with 70km to go that took Ewan down, and although he remounted and fought back to the main field the complexion of the stage totally changed due to his accident. Until that point Ewan and his Lotto-Soudal team had set a steady tempo on the front of the peloton and kept an elite break of seven in check at roughly two minutes.
The crash changed everything, not only derailing Lotto’s fine work but causing enough uncertainty for the break to push clear and contest the win. Several minutes after Mads Pedersen (Trek Segafredo) claimed the stage Ewan and several of his teammates came over the line to face a pool of sympathetic journalists who simply wanted to know when his luck would change.
“I felt really good actually and that’s why we committed two guys to control the breakaway,” Ewan said.
“They were doing a really good job and the break never got too far ahead, and then I don’t know what happened in the corner. They just slammed on in the middle of a corner and I had nowhere to go but into the back of the guy in front of me.”
“When you’re pretty warm everything normally feels ok but once I cool down a bit I’ll feel where I have pain. My knee is pretty sore, my shoulder is pretty sore, and it’s where I broke my collarbone last year. Hopefully it’s alright. Once I went down I didn’t feel as good anymore. I did a big chase to get back on and then on the last climb I think they were going quite hard and I had nothing left.
The sprinters have had a drought in terms of opportunities in this year’s race. On stage 2 Ewan was robbed by a mechanical as Fabio Jakobsen took the win, and then on stage 3 to Sønderborg he was squeezed into the barriers.
“Stage 13 and we’ve only had two sprints,” Ewan neatly summed up.
“It’s not been a great Tour for the sprinters. We saw today as an opportunity and we tried to take it but we had bad luck again. I don’t think anything is broken but you never really know until you’ve cooled down and then the next morning to see where your niggles are.”
Today’s injuries aside, this has been such a stop-start season for Ewan. He came into the campaign with ambitions of winning stages in all three grand tours. He started the year with a trio of wins and was talked up as a contender for Milan-San Remo but a stomach bug would rule him out of the race. He crashed on stage 1 of the Giro d’Italia and his bad luck continued with a number of near-misses. He would eventually leave the race without a win and this Tour has only compounded matters.
“I feel like I can’t catch a break with my luck. It is what it is and it’s part of being a cyclist. I’m having that now but hopefully it turns soon. It’s a bit annoying for now.”