Wout van Aert takes maiden Tour de France victory in Albi
July 15 th 2019 - 17:27
Wout van Aert claimed his first Tour de France stage victory in Albi, the fourth for Jumbo-Visma and the third for Belgian riders, at the end of an eventful stage 10 to Albi. A lot of damage was done by Team Ineos as they managed to split the bunch into pieces in the crosswinds and gained a lot of time on Thibaut Pinot, Jakob Fuglsang, Richie Porte and Mikel Landa, considering that it was a fairly flat stage. Julian Alaphilippe retained the yellow jersey.
Six riders in the lead
171 riders took the start of stage 10 in Saint-Flour. Lilian Calmejane (Total Direct Energie) was first to attack right after the flag off as he was determined to win in his hometown of Albi but he was reined in and another group managed to take off, composed of five riders: Tony Gallopin (AG2R-La Mondiale), Natnael Berhane (Cofidis), Anthony Turgis (Total Direct Energie), Mads Würtz Schmidt (Katusha-Alpecin) and Odd Christian Eiking (Wanty-Groupe Gobert). Michael Schär (CCC), the most aggressive rider of stage 4, bridged the gap at km 12 to make it a six-man breakaway that satisfied the peloton. Sprinters teams, namely Deceuninck-Quick Step, Lotto-Soudal and Jumbo-Visma maintained the time difference below three minutes until it reached 3’05’’ with 140km to go.
Action in the crosswind
73km before the end, Team Ineos and Bora-Hansgrohe profited from a strong side wind to put the hammer down. It brought the gap down quickly. The time difference was only 25’’ at the bottom of the côte de La Malric (km 164.5) but the peloton slowed down up the hill and the advantage of the six leaders was back to two minutes with 50km to go. As a consequence of this hard racing, Calmejane was among the riders in difficulty as the Tour de France entered the Tarn province he hails from. Another strong action 33km before the finish split the peloton in three with George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma), fourth on GC, got trapped in the third part.
Pinot and Fuglsang lose 1’40’’, Landa 2’08’’
25km before the end, the six escapees got swallowed by the yellow jersey group led by riders from Ineos and Movistar while Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), Richie Porte and Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo), Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First), Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) were trapped in a second group and George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma) in the third peloton. The Pinot-Fuglsang group was 20’’ behind with 20km to go and 15’’ behind with 15km to go. Mikel Landa (Movistar) was hampered by a mechanical. Ineos and Deceuninck-Quick Step kept pulling at the front and the gap increased significantly in the last 15km. On the finishing line, after Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) pipped Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-Quick Step) on the line with Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) in third place, the deficit of the Pinot-Fuglsang group was 1’40’’ and Landa completed the stage 2’08’’ after the yellow jersey peloton that included defending champion Geraint Thomas and his team-mate Egan Bernal.