Wout van Aert, riding in the yellow jersey, won the fourth stage of the Tour de France and consolidated the overall lead. The Belgian cyclist won after three second places in a row.
Van Aert decided on the victory with a sovereign escape on the last climb ten kilometers before the finish line and arrived in Calais eight seconds ahead of the peloton. Belgian Jasper Philipsen finished second, homegrown Christophe Laporte third.
“They say that the third time is good. For me it was the fourth time, but that’s good too,” Reuters quoted Van Aert as saying. “These stages are usually won in a mass sprint, so this is unbelievable. It’s almost impossible to win them after breaking away,” he added.
Van Aert’s start was so fast that Philipsen started to celebrate after crossing the finish line after a bunch sprint, thinking he had won the stage. He only realized the mistake after Laporte showed him a jubilant Van Aert.
“I thought I had won by two or three seconds. I was just laughing at the end,” smiled Philipsen. “But that just shows how strong Van Aert is. To overtake the entire peloton like that is unbelievable and I thought no one could do it,” he added.
In the standings, 27-year-old Van Aert increased his lead to 25 seconds ahead of compatriot Yves Lampaert. In third place is the winner of the previous two years, Tadej Pogačar from Slovenia, with a loss of 32 seconds.
After Monday’s day off and transfer from Denmark, the first stage started on French soil in Dunkirk. Before setting off on the 172-kilometer track, the riders honored the memory of the victims of Sunday’s shooting in Copenhagen with a minute’s applause.
On Wednesday, 157 kilometers from Lille to Arenberg are on the agenda. In addition, a total of eleven sections on cobblestones await the peloton.
Tour de France cycling stage race – 4th stage (Dunkirque – Calais, 171.5 km):
1. Van Aert (Belgium/Jumbo-Visma) 4:01:36, 2. Philipsen (Belg./Alpecin-Deceuninck), 3. Laporte (Fr./Jumbo-Visma), 4. Kristoff (Nor./Intermaché -Wanty-Gobert), 5. Sagan (SR/TotalEnergie), 6. Mozzato (It./B&B Hotels-KTM), 7. Van Poppel (Niz./Bora-hansgrohe), 8. Hofstetter (Fr./Arkéa- Samsic), 9. Matthews (Ausr./BikeExchange-Jayco), 10. Thomas (Fr./Cofidis) všichni -8.
Running order: 1. Van Aert 13:02:43, 2. Lampaert (Belg./Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) -25, 3. Pogačar (Slovenia/SAE Team Emirates) -32, 4. Pedersen (Dán./Trek- Segafredo) -36, 5. Van der Poel (Niz./Alpecin-Deceuninck) -38, 6. Vingegaard (Dán./Jumbo-Visma) -40, 7. Roglič (Slovin./Jumbo-Visma) -41, 8 .Yates (Brit./Ineos Grenadiers), 9. Küng (Švýc./Groupama-FDJ) both -48, 10. Pidcock (Brit./Ineos Grenadiers) -49.