Wout van Aert of Belgium won Tuesday’s fourth stage of the Tour de France and increased his overall lead in CALAIS after making a late solo break. The Jumbo-Visma rider finished in Calais eight seconds ahead of the peloton, which was closing quickly after placing second on each of the first three stages in Denmark. Van Aert’s achievement was a singular display of genius that will endure in memory and atones for the disappointment of his three close calls.
After two escapees controlled 160 kilometres, Van Aert’s Jumbo team and Adam Yates’ Ineos made a furious assault up a brief, steep rise. Van Aert, the race’s leader and wearing a bright yellow clothing, was the first to reach the summit and then accelerated quickly over the final 8 km.
“This is a remarkable victory for me. It’s a truly memorable time for me and something new,” Van Aert added. Jasper Philipsen of Alpecin, who finished second in the group sprint behind him, briefly revelled in his stage victory. Van Aert added, “It’s unfortunate for Philipsen; we shouldn’t laugh at him.”
In the overall standings, Van Aert currently has a 25-second advantage over Yves Lampaert, while Tadej Pogacar is in third place and still wearing the white jersey for the best young rider.
The 23-year-old reigning champion declared, “I wouldn’t say no if I could take the yellow tomorrow. Dane Magnus Cort Nielsen, who won the climb points jersey in the Danish Grand Depart, demonstrated his talent on the opening day in France. He continues to lead the King of the Mountains standings after winning the majority of the climbing points once more.
As the peloton drew in, Cort Nielsen’s escape partner Anthony Perez of Cofidis outlasted him into marshes, over canals, and through picture-perfect villages. He was given the award for the day’s most aggressive race. A large number of supporters held up signs wishing Belgian rider Philippe Gilbert, who turned 40, a good birthday.