Sports | Tour de France: van Aert toujours en jaune au bout d'une folle étape des pavés

Sports | Tour de France: van Aert toujours en jaune au bout d’une folle étape des pavés



Arenberg (France) – To his own surprise, the Belgian Wout van Aert saved his yellow jersey from the Tour de France, Wednesday in Arenberg, after a crazy scenario in the fifth stage, cobbled, won by the Australian Simon Clarke .

Main victim of this hot, overexcited day, with multiple twists, the Slovenian Primoz Roglic, one of the leaders of the Jumbo team, lost more than two minutes on the outgoing winner, Tadej Pogacar, the first of the favorites to the arrival located near the old mining site.

Audacious as usual, as comfortable on the cobblestones as the pure specialists, Pogacar delivered an impressive number of 18 kilometers but little remunerative: thirteen seconds only on most of his rivals in the general classification (Vingegaard, Thomas, A. Yates, Martinez, Vlasov, Gaudu, Mas, Quintana, Bardet), all saved by the work of van Aert, who turned into a super teammate in the service of his other leader, the Dane Jonas Vingegaard.

– Pogacar’s “good day” –

“I had a very good day, I felt good on the cobbles,” smiled Pogacar. The Slovenian only kept one rider, the Belgian Jasper Stuyven, with him after his attack on the cobblestones of Sars-et-Rosières, a traditional sector of Paris-Roubaix. But the gap, which peaked at around forty seconds, was partially erased in the final, after the exit of the eleventh and last cobblestone sector located five kilometers from the line.

“I was surprised to learn that I would keep the yellow jersey, I was so at the back” (of the peloton, editor’s note), commented van Aert, who went through all kinds of emotions in this stage. . Thrown to the ground at the start of the last hundred kilometers following a collision with one of his teammates (Steven Kruijswijk), the Belgian admitted to having then “lost confidence”.

But, on his own, he saved the Jumbo team, victim of repeated blows of fate. Starting with the puncture of Vingegaard followed by a mess due to an oversized replacement bike stretched out by a teammate and, even more, the fall of Roglic which occurred thirty kilometers from the finish, because of a bundle. of straw encroaching on the road following the passage of a motorbike.

– Roglic puts his shoulder back in place –

Until then, Roglic held his place in the group of favorites. The Slovenian, runner-up to Pogacar in the 2020 Tour, explained after the finish that he put his shoulder back in place before leaving. He then found help from three of his teammates but his disbursement finally exceeded two minutes and weakened his team.

“We fought at the back when we were planning to fight at the front,” summed up van Aert. The Belgian Superman now has a lead of thirteen seconds in the general classification over the American Neilson Powless and fourteen over the Norwegian Edvald Boasosn Hagen, two of the members of the breakaway formed in the first quarter of an hour of the race, which disputed the victory at the end of the 157 kilometers.

For prestige, Australian veteran Simon Clarke, soon to be 36, narrowly edged out Dutchman Taco van der Hoorn. He brought his first major Tour success to the Israel PT team, who last winter offered him a life-saving contract to pursue a career so far adorned mostly with two Vuelta stages – and a second place in the Amstel Gold Race 2019.

Failing to upset the classification, the stage weighed down (temporarily?) the ambitions of Roglic, now behind Thibaut Pinot, who got out of the trap rather well, and the Australian Ben O’Connor, pointed at more than three minutes from his rivals. But, recalled van Aert, “you have to know how to overcome the difficult days”.

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