Van Aert beats Matthews and Pogacar in sprint and wins his second stage this Tour

NOS Cycling

Van Aert beats Matthews and Pogacar in an uphill sprint and wins his second Tour stage

Wout van Aert has won the eighth stage of the Tour de France. In the hilly stage of 186.3 kilometers from Dole in France to Lausanne in Switzerland, the Belgian from Jumbo-Visma was the fastest in the sprint of a thinned group with mainly classification men.

After a tough final climb, the Belgian beat Michael Matthews and Tadej Pogacar in the sprint. It is already Van Aert’s second stage victory this Tour. He previously won the stage to Calais.

Pogacar will also be pleased, because he also took four bonus seconds thanks to his third place. His lead over number two Jonas Vingegaard is now 0.39

Corona ghost reports in platoon

After the euphoria of the double stage win, Tadej Pogacar had to deal with a big disappointment this morning. Teammate Vegard Stake Laengen delivered a positive corona test and was taken off course.

The same was true for the Frenchman Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R). Earlier this Tour, QuickStep already lost three team leaders because of corona, so the fear – especially with a view to the mandatory tests on Monday’s rest day – is considerable.

AFP

Front runners Mattia Cattaneo, Frederik Frison and Fred Wright en route in the eighth stage.

That Mattia Cattaneo would then color the day in the flight of the day on behalf of QuickStep is perhaps appropriate. The Italian comes from the village of Alzano Lombardo near Bergamo, one of the villages where corona first appeared in Europe.

As a more than decent climber and time trialist, the profile of the eighth stage was perfect for Cattaneo, but that was less true for his fellow refugees Fred Wright (this year seventh in the Tour of Flanders) and the Flemish sprint starter Frederik Frison.

Yellow involved in major crash

The fact that those three were given space had everything to do with a big crash at the start of the stage. The young American Kevin Vermaerke (DSM) hit the asphalt hard in the middle of the peloton and had to give up moments later.

Several classification riders also fell over each other in the mêlée, including jersey wearer Tadej Pogacar. Apparently unscathed, the Slovenian continued on his way.

Even Pogacar cannot ignore this: yellow jersey is due to a major crash

Due to the chaos in the pack, Cattaneo, Wright and Frison quickly ran three minutes ahead of the pack and started the day’s flight. In the background, the fallen riders licked their wounds – Maximilian Schachmann rode on with quite a few scrapes to the face – and Gianni Moscon gave up.

The controversial Italian caused a stir on this Tour by finishing last in the cobblestone stage (normally one of his specialties) and going up on foot on La Planche des Belle Filles. A result of long covid, his team Astana later announced.

What followed were a few sleep-inducing hours, during which Jumbo-Visma (for Van Aert) and BikeExchange (for Matthews) never let the gap with the escapees get much larger than 2.00.

NOS

Mattia Cattaneo makes a gesture as if to accelerate his bike: upshift!

After the first two categorized climbs had been conquered and the lead fluctuated around the minute, Cattaneo gave the signal to accelerate. Promptly the three drove a minute further away, but that cost Frison (son of former rider and sports director Herman Frison) the head.

At 61 kilometers he had to let his fellow refugees go on a sloping road.

Pinot gets accidental punch

Behind the two front runners, French crowd favorite Thibaut Pinot demanded attention and not in the way he would have liked. Just below the top of the Col de Pétra Félix (fourth category), Pinot fell awkwardly and in his eagerness to get back to the front, he punched the fist of a caretaker of a rival team.

You (don’t) declare food in the Tour like this: Pinot almost knocked out by caretaker

Pinot briefly got off the bike to regain his senses, but moments later managed to return quite easily in the wake of the support cars.

Splashing final

With an emergency speed, the peloton then drove in a descending line to the final climb to the Olympic stadium in Lausanne and so it became clear that the flight of Cattaneo and Wright was doomed to failure.

Wright actually started the final climb (4.8 km at 4.6 percent) first, but the battle for the stage victory was fought behind. And Mathieu van der Poel actually spoke a word in it.

He set the pace of the peloton to the final climb in the hope that his teammate Jasper Philipsen would survive the climb. This appeared to not be the case. Only Van Aert and Matthews maintained their position between the classification men and they also sprinted for the win. Van Aert won.