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Ewan takes last place in frustrating Tour

Caleb Ewan has taken aim at rival sprinter Alexander Kristoff as the Australian star’s barren Tour de France ended with more frustration in Paris.

Ewan finished eighth in Sunday’s traditional last stage on the Champs-Elysees after he and the Norwegian tangled in the final sprint.

The Lotto-Soudal star came to the Tour with realistic ambitions of a stage win, but instead crashed twice.

His only prize was the dubious honour of becoming the second Australian after Richard Lamb in 1931 to claim the “Lanterne Rouge” as the slowest rider on the overall standings.

Kristoff finished third on Sunday behind stage winner Jasper Philipsen and Ewan was unimpressed with what happened.

“He just came up next to me and started closing me into the barriers,” Ewan said.

“It’s annoying when a slow sprinter comes and gets in your way, because he knows he can’t come around those guys, so he knows he’s just messing up my sprint – it’s a bit frustrating.”

It was then put to Ewan that Kristoff did not think he had done anything wrong.

“Maybe he’s too old and he doesn’t realise what he’s doing,” Ewan said of his 35-year-old rival.

“All I know is I was there and then he came next to me and just started closing in on me.”

With his Lanterne Rouge a certainty, Ewan’s goal on Sunday was to become the first rider to finish last overall and claim the traditional final stage in Paris.

Instead, he went another three-week Grand Tour without a stage success.

He crashed out of last year’s Tour de France and then pulled out midway through this year’s Giro d’Italia as planned, but again had no stage wins and called it his ‘Giro from hell”.

He has not won a Grand Tour stage since last year’s Giro and Ewan was asked how he would remember this Tour.

“The Tour from hell … there were obviously more downs than ups, but that’s professional sport,” he said.

“I’m sure the good times will come again, it’s just been a hard few months.

“The good thing is I finished it – after a few years I needed to have a Grand Tour in my legs.

“If I can take a positive, that’s it.”

Asked about the Lanterne Rouge, Ewan noted he had achieved something by finishing the Tour.

A sponsor has also provided a free holiday voucher for the Lanterne Rouge at this Tour.

“I don’t know if you can call that winning, coming last, but I guess it’s something special in a way,” he said.

“I got a free holiday with it or something. I will probably need it after this Tour.”

His next assignment will be the Commonwealth Games road race on August 7.

“That would be a really nice way to get a win after a few months, but I just need to make sure I recover well from this,” Ewan said.

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