PARTY TIME: Australia's Caleb Ewan celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the final stage of the Tour de France.
PARTY TIME: Australia's Caleb Ewan celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the final stage of the Tour de France. Christophe Ena

Sprint star claims final stage as grandparents watch on

CYCLING: When Caleb Ewan was nine years old he made the commitment to his grandparents, Bundy's Marie and Brian Ewan, in their living room that one day he'd win a stage at the Tour de France on the Champs-Elysees.

Caleb on Sunday night lived out his lifelong goal by claiming the final stage in Paris to end this year's Le Tour.

The Lotto-Soudal rider's third stage win, storming home in a sprint finish to end the best three weeks of his life.

The 25-year-old became just the second Australian to win the final stage in Paris and the first rider to win three stages at his debut event.

He is now second on the all-time list of Australians to win stages at the biggest cycling event in the world.

"The (final stage) sprint was quite messy and we were quite far back but I was patient and waited,” Ewan said.

"I didn't know how many guys were in front of me and so I waited and then ran at the three guys across the road,” Caleb told AFP.

"I went down the right, most sprinters I've talked to said don't go down the right because it's bumpy. But luckily I had the speed to come through in the end.”

Watching Caleb all the way to the finish line in the early hours of Monday were Marie and Brian.

"We were so glad (that) the neighbours were aware of us being loud,” Marie said.

"It's amazing the support we and Caleb have had.”

Caleb's success, Marie admits, has come as a surprise to the family.

"I thought he might win one on his debut but not three,” she said.

"He was seventh wheel in the final stage and I was, like, 'How the hell could he do it to win?' but he did.

"It's amazing people are now calling him the best in the world.”

Caleb has now won stages at all three Grand Tours: the Le Tour, the Giro D'Italia and Vuelta a Espana.

But the last stage win on Sunday will be remembered for a long time.

"He always wanted to win there,” Marie said.

"For him to be able to do it was incredible, he had tears in his eyes at the end.

"His parents and his wife with our great-grandchild were also there.”

Marie revealed Caleb messaged them after the race and said he was on 'cloud nine'.

She said Caleb had told her a trip to Bundy to see them was was coming soon.

Caleb is expected to take a short break, before focusing on the Vuelta a Espana from August24 to September15.



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