Paris, Jul 24: Australian debutant Caleb Ewan celebrated his second title in the Tour de France with strong sprint, while defending champion Geraint Thomas once again underwent crash scare in the 16th stage on Tuesday.Following his stage 11 triumph, Ewan came from behind to outsprint Italy's Elia Viviani just before the finish line in suffocating heat wave affecting many parts of France. "To be honest, I felt so bad today. The heat really hit me but I had some extra motivation with the presence of my wife and my daughter," said Ewan.
"I don't realize what's happening to me. It's a dream to be here at the Tour de France. It was already such a big dream to win one stage, now I won two but I can't believe it," Ewan pointed out.In the 177km flat stage around southern city of Nimes, Thomas suffered his third crash this year, after the opening and eighth stage. Thomas fell off his bike in a corner more than 40km into the stage. Left scratches on his left side of body, the reigning overall champion quickly went back to the race, thus not losing time as he arrived at the finish with the peleton. Alexis Gougeard, Stephane Rossetto, Lukas Wisniowski, Lars Bak and Paul Ourselin attacked early to form a breakaway group, which was reeled in with over two kilometers before the finish.
Thomas stays one minute 35 seconds behind yellow jersey owner Julian Alaphilippe in overall standings, which witnesses top six riders separated by a little over two minutes at most.But Jakob Fuglsang, sitting ninth overall before Tuesday's stage, was not so fortunate as Thomas, as the Danish rider was forced to withdraw through a hand injury following his crash with 28km remaining.A 200km stage from Pont du Gard to Gap awaits riders on Wednesday, before the race moves into the Alps, featuring three straight mountain stages that can well decide the outcome. (UNI)