Wout van Aert secures second Flemish stage win in Tour de France
Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) won the fourth stage of the Tour de France after a superb attack in the final part of the 171.5 km stage between Dunkirk and Calais. Jasper Philipsen won the sprint for second place, but mistakenly thought he had won.
The day after the first rest day, the Tour returned home with its first stage on French soil. It took the riders via a complete diversions of more than 171 kilometres from Dunkirk to Calais. Before the start, there was a tribute to Denmark, which was confronted with the drama of the shooting in Copenhagen at the end of the Grand Départ. The stage started with a minute's applause from the riders.
Despite the interesting course, the race didn't start until ten kilometres from the finish, on the final slope: Cap Blanc-Nez. Just before the top Van Aert accelerated and created a small gap. He extended his lead to over twenty seconds in the descent and the flat stretch afterwards, enough to secure the second Flemish victory in this Tour de France.
After three consecutive second places, Van Aert took his first win of the Tour with an eight-second lead on the sprinting chase group. Even though the sprinting group had Van Aert in sight, Philipsen thought he had won: the Belgian crossed the line full of euphoria, but quickly realised his mistake.
Afterwards, Van Aert praised his teammates. "This kind of stage normally ends in a sprint with a big group, even though it was a tough climb at the end. But getting away alone in this stage is one of the hardest things to do. I only got away thanks to the help of my teammates. They did half the work, and then it was up to me to finish it."
© BELGA PHOTO JASPER JACOBS