Featured image courtesy of POOL/AFP via Getty Images
Is there anything Wout Van Aert cannot do? That’s the question we’re all asking of this amazing young talent who can ride on all terrain whether it’s a time trial, a sprint or an uphill finish – he looks like a rider who’s been riding in the World Tour longer than just one year!
Stage 5 from Gap from Privas was always destined to end in a sprint but we certainly got a surprise at the end. A false flat in the final kilometre was perhaps the perfect opportunity for Wout Van Aert, who earns another stage win at the Tour de France and back-to-back stages for Jumbo-Visma.
Last year Wout Van Aert sadly crashed out on Stage 13, four days after winning Stage 10 into Albi. We certainly hope that the young man finishes this year’s Tour but most importantly this won’t be his last stage win. Yesterday at Orcières-Merlette we saw Van Aert put in a fantastic effort to deliver his teammates up the climb and in the end Primož Roglič getting the stage win – the team are on fire and this latest victory will breath even more confidence.
With Tony Martin as the road captain and Van Aert in the form of his live to offer his best support, Primož Roglič couldn’t be anymore happier with the teammates around him. While the stage was won there was a small scary moment for super domestique Sepp Kuss who had a little tumble – not anything too problematic.
There was no breakaway today which was odd in itself. King of the Mountains leader Benoit Cosnefroy was allowed to take two points to increase his lead in the polka-dot jersey and the green jersey has also changed shoulders. Sam Bennett has come close to his first Tour de France stage win but becomes the first Irishman since Sean Kelly in 1989 and the third Irishman to wear the maillot vert.
Looking at the final sprint itself it was another missed chance for Bennett but also for Team Sunweb. They had the perfect leadout for Cees Bol. The Dutchman took second place so that is progress and he could take at least a stage win at this Tour. Caleb Ewan came eighth and for Peter Sagan it was another day where the three-times world champion doesn’t look the Sagan of old. To make things interesting it would be great for the race if his hold of the green jersey is challenged. Sam Bennett can get over climbs when the terrain gets tough so maybe Sagan’s dominance in green might be coming to an end? Long way to go still!
In the most bizarre way possible we have a new race leader in yellow. Julian Alaphilippe took a bottle inside the final 20 km of today’s stage something which you cannot do. A 20 second time penalty for the Frenchman means that Adam Yates moves into the maillot jaune, the ninth British rider to wear yellow. After trying ever so hard to try and claim the jersey in 2016 and missing out, Yates finally finds himself in the race lead but not in the way he probably imagined!
One final point is the combativity award. No breakaway means the award would be given to someone in the peloton. Deceuninck Quick-Step’s Kasper Asgreen put in a small acceleration earlier in the stage but was shut down – the most combative moment of the day!
A nice touch to the race sees Wout Poels given the award for today. Riding with a broken rib, the Dutchman is still going and chapeau to him!
Tomorrow sees a 191 km route from Le Teil to Mont Aigoual for what the organisers ASO are describing as a “finish on a plateau”. The finish is a combination of ramps that rise and fall but the key climb could come down to the Col de la Lusette where bonus seconds are on offer.
What will Adam Yates do in yellow? Will Julian Alaphilippe fight to win back the race lead? The GC men will be all in for trying to edge their rivals.
The first of two adventures into the Massif Central await…