TDF: Stage 5 win for Van Aert

Twenty-four hours after the triumph of his leader Primoz Roglic at Orcières-Merlette, Wout Van Aert thrillingly broke free of his domestique role to grab a second consecutive victory for Jumbo-Visma – Adam Yates in yellow

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TDF: Stage 5 win for Van Aert

Twenty-four hours after the triumph of his leader Primoz Roglic at Orcières-Merlette, Wout Van Aert thrillingly broke free of his domestique role to grab a second consecutive victory for Jumbo-Visma

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The stage was decided in a 68 rider bunch kick after a frantic final 10k. The Belgian, Wout van Aert, who also tasted victory in Strade Bianche and Milan-San Remo, had a free rein today & he did not let the opportunity slip through his fingers. He now has two stage wins on the Tour, one year after his victory in Albi, on another windy day. In the GC battle, Adam Yates found himself in yellow after Julian Alaphilippe was handed a 20 second penalty due to taking a water bottle in the last 20 kilometres.

The day after the first summit finish on this year’s race, there were no non-starters at the beginning of the stage in Gap. The 172 riders left the administrative centre of the Hautes-Alpes department in bright sunshine and with the desire to spend an easier day in the saddle. Apart from a brief attempt by Kasper Asgreen, a team-mate of the morning’s Yellow Jersey Julian Alaphilippe, after 4 kilometres, nobody put themselves forward to form a breakaway, with the trail-blazers taking it easy amongst the pack.

Bennett in Green
The peloton arrived at the intermediate sprint at L’Epine after 48 kilometres all together and Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick Step) was the quickest, to provisionally take the Green Jersey from Peter Sagan, who was tied on points this morning with the Irish champion and who took 4th place. The pace remained moderate on the slight downhill incline that took the riders away from the Alps. Deceuninck-Quick Step, the team of Yellow Jersey Julian Alaphilippe, then Jumbo-Visma, the team of Primoz Roglic, took turns to set the pace at the front of the peloton, without pushing themselves into the red.

Two category 4 climbs needed to be tackled in the finale. Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R La Mondiale) made the effort to be the first man to reach the summit each time and reinforced his lead in the Polka Dot Jersey. Then the Mistral (wind), blowing from the side and then the front, caused limited nervousness in the peloton where there was a fall by Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) and a puncture for Richard Carapaz (Ineos-Grenadiers), both of whom swiftly re-joined the peloton.

A move initiated by Ineos-Grenadiers broke the peloton in two but failed to catch any of the favourites out, meaning it all came down to the final sprint. Belgian Wout Van Aert, freed for the day from duties supporting his team leaders Primoz Roglic and Tom Dumoulin, demonstrated his power to taste victory ahead of Dutchman Cees Bol (Sunweb) and Sam Bennett, the new Green Jersey.

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Wout van Aert: “I didn’t think I would be able get back to this level when I fell last year at Pau. The months afterwards were really tough… I had to work really hard. Since the return to racing in August, I still have the legs, race after race. We look set for a super Tour de France, Primoz Roglic and Tom Dumoulin are looking very strong. We’ve got a lot of motivation”.

“This is a very nice win”, Van Aert added. “I am very grateful to the team for giving me the chance to go for it today. I am more than happy that I can reward their confidence with this stage win. I only got one chance and I took it. This is really awesome. It was a fairly easy stage, but the finish was still quite difficult. Because there was no breakaway during the stage and the fact that the pace was not too high, a lot of riders were still fresh.”

“Because of the fast last hour and the wind, it got quite hectic in the end. I knew the stage was perfect for me. It was very important to choose position. I was positioned really well in the lead-out of Team Sunweb. I started my sprint when Bol accelerated. It was still very tight, but a few centimetres is enough. I now have my victory, so from tomorrow I will work for Primoz and Tom again. I will do so with great pleasure and happiness.”

Sam Bennett: “It was a really hectic sprint, and to be honest, at three kilometers to go I felt that I didn’t have the legs to sprint anymore. The final was really difficult, I could feel that as we were approaching the line. I was focused today on taking the green jersey and having it and following in the footsteps of Sean Kelly and Stephen Roche feels amazing. I am delighted and proud with it and want to enjoy this moment and continue fighting for green.”

Adam Yates:  “It was really calm day, I mean there was no breakaway and we just cruised for the first 100km or so and then it got pretty nervous there in the final, there was a little bit of wind towards the end, a little bit of crosswinds. It’s not the way I imagined taking the jersey, I’m not even sure what’s happened to Julian, I heard he got a time penalty for taking a feed late or something”.

“I don’t think any rider would want to take yellow under these circumstances, I’d prefer to take it with my legs rather than the result of a time penalty. I didn’t even find out until I was in the bus and showered. I feel bad for him. Tomorrow I was looking to try and take the jersey anyway, so I guess we’ll just try and go in with the same tactic, try and win the stage and see what happens.”

Cees Bol: “From five kilometres to go we took the front, all the guys were super strong,” expressed Bol at the finish. “It was amazing to see and to feel the confidence from the team, I think everybody did an amazing pull. Myself, I still did a good sprint in the end and we didn’t make any mistakes but unfortunately in cycling you don’t always get what you deserve as a team because there was one guy faster in the end. Today was a bit more difficult, so if you went hard on the front then those in the wheels behind would still suffer. The guys kept a really good pace and I think we saw that happen. In the end Wout was just a bit faster in the finale. Of course it’s a bit disappointing but if we keep riding like this I have confidence that we’ll get it.”

Luka Mezgec: “We knew it [the finish] was going to harder and more technical, as a team we like that. The boys did a great job, just in the last three kilometres I wasn’t efficient enough, I had to brake too many times, I lost the position and had to make it up again, just that unnecessary loss of speed. But then with one and half kilometres to go I knew I had to do a big effort to come back when I saw Daryl and Jack on the front. I knew it was crucial to be in position with one kilometre to go, I did that. But that finished my legs off.  But anyway, it was good to be up there, with just a little bit smoother ride from my side into the final and I can do more.”

Matt White (Head Sports Director Mitchelton Scott): “I cannot remember a stage with no breakaway at all. We said from the start that this is not a normal Tour de France, it’s been a very, very aggressive first week, but normally the local teams and invited teams are always interested in putting someone up the road. There was none of that today and it was a pretty calm stage until the last hour of racing when nerves, wind and going into certain towns amped up the anxiety and the pace was very fast coming into the finish”.

“The boys did a good job of putting Luka into position, he had to make a couple of efforts in the lead up to that final kilometre and a half, which he paid for a little bit and the bigger sprinters just got the best of him. The boys gave him every opportunity and it was a good effort. We were probably about five minutes from the bus leaving, all the boys had showered and changed. Then my phone rang from the organisers of the Tour de France and told me that Adam Yates was in the yellow jersey, and I asked why. They didn’t go into too much details, they said Alaphilippe received a 20 second time penalty.”

“Nobody likes to take the jersey that way, but at the end of the day we had a tactic coming here to go after the yellow jersey, and if weren’t in second place someone else would have got it. So, the moves that Adam made in the first days, the way the guys have been riding to protect Adam in this first week have enabled us to benefit from the bad luck of someone breaking the rules.”

Julian Alaphilippe lost the Yellow Jersey due to a technicality on stage 5, after having taken a water bottle in the last 20 kilometres, which is not authorised: “It’s the race officials’ decision, that’s just how it is. I didn’t realise at all that it was unauthorised. It was a very long and boring stage, with a very nervous finish. We tried to stay concentrated to keep the Yellow Jersey and win the stage with Sam (Bennett), but he did take the Green Jersey, which is good news. It’s not a problem – I’ll pick myself up again tomorrow and we’ll forget about it”.

Caleb Ewan: “It was pretty simply, we were just too far back. You can only win sprints when in a position to sprint, and I wasn’t in a position to sprint today. We were too far back with a kilometre to go, we tried to move up, but that costs energy when you move up so we moved up but we still weren’t in a position where we could sprint for the win. We’ll try again in a few days. We knew it was going to be a super fast sprint because there was a downhill with 100 metres to go so it was one of those days when position was everything. Even if you are just one or two wheels too far back, you can’t make up so many places in the last part because we are all basically sprinting as fast as we can go. We stuffed it up but we’ll try again.”

Peter Sagan “As expected, the stage finished with a bunch sprint. Today, I lost some points and gained some points as well, so it’s OK. Daniel put me in a good position for the finale, Van Aert did a good sprint and won while I took fourth. The Tour de France is still long and we have the climbing stages coming. I have to be relaxed.”

Emanuel Buchmann “It was a relatively easy stage today but the last 50km were a bit stressful, everybody was nervous and there was a lot of wind but we were in a good position. With 10km to go, when we took the corner, we didn’t have an excellent position but it was still a good one, so there wasn’t big of stress on us and we were safe until the finish. After yesterday’s mountain stage, today was a good recovery day, until the last kilometres, and I felt quite well. Hopefully, I will be even better tomorrow.”

Benoit Cosnefroy: “It was an easier day and not too intense. I have to admit, it did me good. It helped me to recover after the efforts I’ve made since the start of the Tour to wear this Polka Dot Jersey. I’ve picked up just two points on category 4 slopes. It may seem like nothing, but they could be important for the next few days. I would have liked to have had a bigger say in the finale, but my legs told me to take it easy”.

Stage 5
1. Wout Van Aert Team Jumbo – Visma 04:21:22
2. Cees Bol Team Sunweb
3. Sam Bennett Point jersey Deceuninck-Quick Step
4. Peter Sagan Bora-Hansgrohe
5. Jasper Stuyven Trek-Segafredo
6. Luka Mezgec Mitchelton-Scott
7. Bryan Coquard B&B Hotels-Vital Concept
8. Caleb Ewan Lotto Soudal
9. Clément Venturini AG2R La Mondiale
10. Hugo Hofstetter Israel Start-Up Nation

16. Julian Alaphilippe Deceuninck-Quick Step
17. Adam Yates Leader jersey Mitchelton-Scott
52. Hugh Carthy EF Pro Cycling
76. Jack Bauer Mitchelton-Scott @ 35
135. Connor Swift Team Arkea-Samsic @ 04:50
136. Luke Rowe INEOS Grenadiers @ 04:50

1. Adam Yates Mitchelton-Scott 22:28:30
2. Primoz Roglic Team Jumbo – Visma @ 03
3. Tadej Pogacar UAE Team Emirates @ 07
4. Guillaume Martin Cofidis @ 09
5. Egan Bernal INEOS Grenadiers @ 13
6. Tom Dumoulin Team Jumbo – Visma @ 13
7. Nairo Quintana Team Arkea-Samsic @ 13
8. Esteban Chaves Mitchelton-Scott @ 13
9. Miguel Angel Lopez Astana Pro Team @ 13
10. Romain Bardet AG2R La Mondiale @ 13

16. Julian Alaphilippe Deceuninck-Quick Step @ 16

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