Tour 2022: Wout van Aert wins in Calais after power explosion Jumbo-Visma
Tuesday 5 July 2022 at 17:31
Wout van Aert has won the fourth stage of the Tour de France. After three second places in the Danish stages, the yellow jersey wearer of Jumbo-Visma hit the spot in the first stage on French soil. After his team had broken everything up on the last climb, he rode solo to victory in Calais.
After three days in Denmark and a rest day, the Tour continued in northwestern France with stage four between Dunkirk and Calais. The starting place is of course known for the annual Four Days of Dunkirk, won by Philippe Gilbert – who turned 40 today. From there, the route first went to the charming town of Cassel, for the first climb of the day. This was followed by four more climbs on the way to the Opal Coast. Via the Côte du Cap Blanc-Nez at ten kilometers from the finish, the stage finally arrived in Calais.
The stage started with a moment in memory of the victims of the shooting in a shopping center in Copenhagen. Several people were killed in the attack on Sunday. After the tribute, the peloton was started at a quarter past one, on the same boulevard where Jeroen Blijlevens sprinted to his first stage victory in the Tour in 1995. In the neutralization Owain Doull fell, but the fast Brit from EF Education-EasyPost was quickly back on the bike.
Cort polka dot jersey on the attack again
Anthony Perez of Cofidis was the first attacker of the day and the Frenchman was given polka dot jersey Magnus Cort (EF Education-EasyPost) after him. The peloton gave its blessing to the couple, who had already taken a six minute lead on the first climb of the day, the Côte de Cassel after 30.7 kilometers. Cort emerged first, mathematically securing the Dane another new mountain jersey at the end of the day. In the descent Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl suddenly accelerated and the Belgian team seemed to want to break the peloton.
The work of Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl and also INEOS Grenadiers had an effect, as the peloton broke in three. Mathieu van der Poel, Guillaume Martin and Thibaut Pinot, among others, fell behind. After a short chase, the released riders were able to quickly return, but the tone was set. Due to the acceleration in the peloton, Perez and Cort’s lead had suddenly fallen to under four minutes. When calm had returned, the escapees were able to walk out again.
After 63.2 kilometers, Perez was the first to pass the intermediate sprint, ahead of Cort. We had to wait and see which riders in the peloton would collect the points. Christophe Laporte started the sprint for Wout van Aert, but the wearer of the yellow jersey could not prevent Fabio Jakobsen from pushing his front wheel over the line just a little earlier. Behind them, Michael Mørkøv took some points away from Peter Sagan and Caleb Ewan. For example, Jakobsen caught up again in the battle for the green jersey.
Cort is not put in the way in the mountain sprints
Cort was also allowed to take the only mountain point from his fellow refugee Perez on the second climb, the Côte de Remilly-Wirquin. Also on the third and fourth climb, the Côte de Nielles-lès-Bléquin and the Côte de Harlettes, the Dane was not put in the way. The peloton had meanwhile accelerated, so that the lead of the two front runners slowly but surely started to shrink. In particular, Alpecin-Deceuninck, Lotto Soudal and Trek-Segafredo, the teams of Jasper Philipsen, Caleb Ewan and Mads Pedersen, were active in the pursuit.
After 123 kilometers, Cort was also the first on top of the fifth climb, the Côte du Ventus. Not much later, the Dane thought it was enough and released at Perez, who continued alone. At that time, the Frenchman still had a minute and a half ahead of the big pack, which was preparing for the last forty kilometers. On the slightly sloping roads back to the coast, the nervousness started to increase. Reaching Cap Gris-Nez, remaining frontrunner Perez started first on the last 25 kilometers along the Channel to Calais.
Perez’ lead was only half a minute at that point. With twelve kilometers from the finish, INEOS Grenadiers suddenly pulled through. Jumbo-Visma took over the attack of the British formation on the last climb of the day, the Côte du Cap Blanc-Nez. Nathan Van Hooydonck and Tiesj Benoot initiated the acceleration of the Dutch team and eventually Wout van Aert was launched. The jersey wearer grabbed the only remaining mountain point and continued solo. Behind him the pack was completely apart.
Van Aert wins race
Van Aert did not relinquish his lead in the last ten kilometers and secured the victory after 171 kilometers. After three second places in the Danish stages, the Belgian took full advantage in the first stage on French soil. It was his sixth victory of the season on the road after Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, a stage win in Paris-Nice, the E3 Saxo Bank Classic and two stages in the Critérium du Dauphiné. Jasper Philipsen sprinted to second place, Christophe Laporte finished third. Alexander Kristoff and Peter Sagan rounded out the top five.