Ewan could be Tour's slowest - and fastest

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Caleb Ewan could achieve one of the weirdest, most wonderful doubles in sporting annals should he win both the final stage of the Tour de France and the celebrated 'lanterne rouge' as the last man to finish the race.

Australia's sprint star Ewan has had the most wretched of Tours, two crashes, injuries, bad luck and missed opportunities littering his ill-fated three-week path in Lotto Soudal colours.

Yet, perversely, the 28-year-old Sydneysider's almost heroic battle to get to the final Sunday in Paris while currently the slowest of the 138 riders still left in the race is definitely something worth saluting.

After all, no less than 38 riders haven't even made it to the 21st and final stage after this most swift and brutal of Tours.

Yet despite all his misfortunes and his fears that he'd never make the time limit on the brutal final-week mountain stages, Ewan has still soldiered on.

When he gets to the Champs-Elysees on Sunday, it will have taken the Sydneysider five hours, 41 minutes longer than the champion-elect Jonas Vingegaard to get there, having already endured more than 82 hours in the saddle.

Of course, one of the fastest men in the peloton didn't come to France for the 'lanterne rouge' but, rather, hoping he would take at least one stage to add to the 11 he's won at grand tours.

Yet, uniquely, he could still achieve both on the very last day, if he's still not too battered, bruised and exhausted to win the final, most prized sprint stage as he did back in 2019.

The 'lanterne rouge' is already shining for him after he finished Saturday's time trial, still nearly five minutes behind than the next-slowest rider overall, Movistar's Albert Torres.

But the award of being the final finisher has actually become such a mythologised badge of honour that one internet travel company has even offered a 1,000 Euro ($A1475) voucher to reward the recipient.

Ewan, who'll need a holiday, could become the most distinguished of all 'lanterne rouge' winners and would only be the second Australian to achieve the feat, some 91 years since a Melbourne rider called Richard Lamb, was the last of the 35 finishers.

Lamb was known to his fellow riders as "Fatty" - and now it's time for Australia to also hail its lantern-carrying "Pocket Rocket".

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