Wout van Aert who came to the Tour de France with the first ambition of winning sprints and wearing the yellow jersey claimed an impressive time trial victory in the vineyard of Saint-Émilion after the Mont Ventoux stage. Kasper Asgreen and Jonas Vingegaard rounded out the podium of stage 20. Tadej Pogacar finished with 8th best time and retained the yellow jersey with an advantage of 5’20’’ over Vingegaard.
Stefan Bissegger for one and half hour on the hot seat
Successively, Tim Declercq, Mark Cavendish, Michael Morkov, Dries Devenyns, all from Deceuninck-Quick Step, set a time of reference. Max Walscheid (Qhubeka-NextHash) bettered the Belgian but the first big specialist to ride over 50km/h was Mikkel Bjerg (UAE Team Emirates) in 36’45’’ (50.3km/h). Stefan Bissegger (EF Education-Nippo) rode eight seconds faster in 36’37 (50.4km/h). Bissegger and Bjerg topped the tally until Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-Quick Step) outclassed them. In both time checks, the Danish champion was 6’’ ahead of the Swiss winner of the time trial at Paris-Nice who remained on the hot seat for one hour and ten minutes. Asgreen was the eighth leader of the stage with an average speed of 51km/h (36’14’’).
Big disillusion for Stefan Küng
European champion Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) was the hot favourite to dethrone the Dane. He started on a high note, with 6’’ lead over Asgreen at Pomerol (km 7.6) but had already lost his advantage at Montagne (km 20). Towards the end, he paid for his efforts and missed out on the stage win he wanted badly. Asgreen was eventually ousted by Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) who rode in 35’53’’ at 51.5km/h, which was 21’’ faster than the previous leader!
First ITT win at the Tour de France for van Aert
In the battle for GC positions, all riders who were threatened by their closest follower retained their supremacy: Vingegaard (2nd) over Richard Carapaz, Ben O’Connor (4th) over Wilco Kelderman, Enric Mas (6th) over Alexey Lutsenko and Guillaume Martin (8th) over Pello Bilbao. Van Aert had won bunch sprints and a mountain stage previously but this is his first time trial victory. For the second time, Pogacar, 23, will ride to Paris in the yellow jersey.