Twenty-four hours after the triumph of his leader Primoz Roglic at Orcières-Merlette, Wout Van Aert thrillingly broke free of his supporting role to grab a second consecutive victory for Jumbo-Visma, in Privas, on completion of a sprint which was whittled down to smaller numbers by a break in the peloton created by the Ineos-Grenadiers team nine kilometres from the finish.
The Belgian, who also tasted victory on the Strade Bianche and Milan-San Remo, had a free rein today. He did not let the opportunity slip through his fingers and now has two stage wins on the Tour, one year after his victory in Albi, on another windy day.
Due to taking a water bottle in the last 20 kilometres, which is not authorised, Julian Alaphilippe was handed a 20 second penalty and lost his Yellow Jersey to Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott).
“It was a heavy finish. It was maybe the easiest stage I did in a cycling race because there was no breakaway and not a high pace at all, but everyone was fresh and the last hour was really hectic.
“There was a lot of wind, so all the sprinters and GC teams wanted to be at the front. Then the last kilometre was slightly uphill, so I knew this was a stage that suited me. I’m just so happy that I got an opportunity from the team to go for it. If you have one shot and you can finish it off, then it’s even more sweet.
“I think it was important to keep position, it was a hard uphill, and I managed to be behind Sunweb who had a good lead-out, and I launched my sprint from the moment I saw Bol going in front of me. I was quite tight, but I was also on the outside, so I think it was maybe just half a wheel or something, but it was enough (Eurosport).