Caleb Ewan claimed his second stage win of this year’s race, four days after winning stage eight at Pesaro. Photo: Alessandro di Meo/ANSA via AP

NOVI LIGURE – Australian Caleb Ewan won a sprint finish to take the 11th stage of the Giro d’Italia on Wednesday, just ahead of Frenchman Arnaud Demare.

Italian Valerio Conti, riding for UAE Emirates, kept the overall leader’s pink jersey before the race heads for the first day in the Alps on Thursday.

The 24-year-old Ewan of Lotto-Soudal claimed his second stage win of this year’s race, four days after winning stage eight at Pesaro.

Three Italians who have been consistently active in breakaways – Marco Frapporti, Mirco Maestri and Damiano Cima – once again led a long escape in the 221km stage raced entirely in sunshine.

The trio were caught 25km from Novi Ligure, in north-western Italy. 

In the sprint, Australian Ewan chased down German champion Pascal Ackermann, who had to settle for third, a day after crashing.

Demare of Groupama-FDJ, the winner of the crash-marred 10th stage at Modena, snatched second place for a boost to overtake Ackermann at the top of the points standings.

Italian Elia Viviani, winner of four stages last year, once again fell short, finishing fourth in the sprint.

Thursday’s 12th stage covers 156km between Cuneo and Pinerolo in the Italian Alps, the scene of Fausto Coppi’s mythical long-range attack in 1949.

AFP