Wout van Aert looks ahead in Vive le Vélo: “Pogacar’s team is not super strong, we should try to play on that” | Vive le Velo

With three in front, that was not quite the scenario Wout van Aert had hoped for. But the yellow jersey wearer kept going, only to be eaten as a lone frontrunner. Jumbo-Visma’s approach therefore raised questions, but Van Aert remains behind the plan.

“I was one of the big favorites for this stage and so it would have been a very difficult stage for our team to control. Not only to get behind a flight, but also to get a controllable group to pull away from the start. “

“That was almost impossible, so we opted for the opposite by trying to keep up with the flight. Unfortunately we only came with three in front, but there was no turning back. When I lowered myself, the battle was open again and put us back in a position where we couldn’t win the race.”

The trio even became a duo when Jakob Fuglsang gave up on 66 kilometers from the end. “Fuglsang showed from the start that he didn’t have much faith in the flight. It’s a bit strange that he stayed so long.”

“When we got to that hill zone, he decided to let himself down. That
was a shame, because he is a strong rider and certainly had an ally
might be able to sing it out even longer.”

“We had too little leeway and manpower on such roads to really stand a chance. But you still have to try. Quinn’s candle (Simmons, ed.) was out a little faster and when I sat down alone my legs ran also empty quickly.”

Fuglsang eventually finished in 23rd place, barely 5 seconds behind stage winner Tadej Pogacar. This raises the question: wouldn’t Van Aert also have let himself down better to sprint for the win?

“I don’t think I would ever have had the legs to sprint for the win. You also see who eventually wins today and it’s hard to beat.”

In the battle for yellow, Jumbo-Visma has had a lesser two days. Tadej Pogacar was first able to take advantage of the misery with the Dutch team in the cobblestone stage and also emerged as a great triumphator from the stage to Longwy. Primoz Roglic and Jonas Vingegaard lick their wounds, but Van Aert remains combative.

“Pogacar has shown very few weaknesses so far. One weakness is very clear and that is that his team is certainly not super strong. We have to try to play on that.”

“Today we were able to put pressure on them, but then you see that other teams also lend a hand. That was a shame for us. We have to try to put the pressure on them and dare to attack early. hope we get more companions with us, because with three men you won’t hurt them much of course.”

For Van Aert himself, this Tour is already a success with 4 days in yellow and the impressive victory in Calais. His 7th stage victory already in the Tour. “Perhaps that is the most beautiful. On the one hand because it was in the yellow jersey, on the other hand because we really dominated the race there as a team in the final. Getting the win together with those guys, that makes it nice.”

Remarkably, in 6 of his 7 stage victories in the Tour, his wife Sarah De Bie was not there. Van Aert responded with a joke at Vangramberen. “She has to stay home from now on. Today she was there again. I drove in front all day and was taken back. She brings bad luck.”