He announced the color just a few days ago. In the columns of Het Laatste Nieuws, Wout van Aert had clearly displayed his ambitions for the Tour de France: “My mind will be focused on the green jersey”, he warned. And for his first outing after this announcement, the 27-year-old Belgian won… in the sprint during the first stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné. “This stage suited me perfectly,” said the Belgian champion.
This first hilly stage saw the pure sprint specialists being let go before the last hectometres. In the last ascent of the route, Trek-Segafredo thus blasted the peloton, leaving Dylan Groenewegen and Phil Bauhaus out of the final explanation. Blessed bread for the resident of the Jumbo-Visma training, who settled the Briton Ethan Hayter (Ineos – Grenadiers) and the American Sean Quinn (EF Education-EasyPost) to win.
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Van Aert: “We will try to defend the yellow jersey”
To see that it bears fruit as soon as I return is very important
Placed in the right wheel with intelligence, Wout van Aert, who had not raced since his third place in Liège-Bastogne-Liège (April 24), made his power speak. In all serenity. “I was quite comfortablesummed up “WVA” in the Belgian daily Le Soir. Given the profile of the stage, we expected a tough final because many teams wanted to let go of the sprinters. And I felt good, I had good feelings“. And it jumped out at you.
His fourth stage victory over the Dauphiné is once again a reminder of his tremendous versatility. After his solo victory at Nieuwsblad, that of the E3 Saxo Bank Classic during a masterful breakaway with his teammate Christophe Laporte and after winning the Paris-Nice time trial, he won his first sprint of the season. “I haven’t especially had a good feeling in the sprint this season. I’ve been trying to work on this for the past few weeks and seeing it pay off as soon as I get back is very important.“, recognized in Le Soir the one who won three stages during the last Grande Boucle.
Well wedged in the wheel of Hayter, Van Aert sprung at the right time: his victory in video
It’s definitely on my mind
This success allows him to further assert his ambitions for this green jersey on the Tour with his all-terrain side. “It’s definitely in my head. Last spring I wasn’t always happy with my feeling and that’s why we’ve been working a lot on my sprint over the past few weeks. Now I have the feeling that things are going well again”, welcomed in the Belgian daily Het Laatste Nieuws Wout van Aert, which we had left frustrated by a Classics campaign thwarted by the Covid-19.
While waiting to confirm these impressions on the roads of his next big goal, the resident of the Jumbo-Visma team does not intend to rest on his laurels. On Sunday, he donned the leader’s yellow jersey. And if this is the goal of his teammate Primoz Roglic, he still hopes to show himself. “We will try to defend it. (…) I would like to keep it as long as possible. (…) We are here with a big team and the next steps should suit me well. Hoping to be able to pass it to Primoz next weekendn,” he concludes.
Alexis Vuillermoz made his punch and his experience speak: arrival of the 2nd stage
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Vuillermoz resists the peloton and scores a double blow
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