Jasper Philipsen wins again to deny Mark Cavendish Tour de France record

By Sports Desk July 04, 2023 610

Jasper Philipsen underlined his status as the in-form sprinter Mark Cavendish must beat at the Tour de France as he made it two wins in as many days with victory on stage four.

Cavendish, seeking a record-breaking 35th career Tour stage win, could not test himself against the Belgian, a moment’s hesitation leaving him boxed in to finish fifth.

But Philipsen was again dominant, holding off a fast-finishing Caleb Ewan as both riders threw their bikes to the line.

The sprint meant no change at the top of the general classification as Adam Yates continues to lead by six seconds from UAE Emirates team-mate Tadej Pogacar and twin brother Simon Yates of Jayco-Alula.

For a second straight day, Mathieu van der Poel provided the perfect lead-out, guiding Philipsen out of a crash-strewn finish on the Circuit de Nogaro.

Cavendish, having seen team-mate Luis Leon Sanchez caught up in one of several late incidents, put his money on former world champion Mads Pedersen as he surfed the wheels but when he tried to join Pedersen’s charge, he was blocked by Dylan Groenewegen and his chance was gone.

“I think everybody who had a plan, every team, it didn’t come to fruition in the final for them,” the Manxman said. “There was no team in control… my boys got me exactly where I wanted to be, we were good there, but for every team it became chaos in the final. The corners got tighter and tighter.

“It was just a mixing pot of riders, there were crashes, I think Luis has gone down so I’m nervous about that. I looked around and the only man who had a lead-out left I could have jumped on was Mads, he had (Jasper) Stuyven so I thought, ‘Bam, get on him’.

“I was just waiting for him to go. It was a headwind so you want to leave it as late as possible and he just didn’t go.

“At one point I thought I should have gone at 350 (metres). I wouldn’t have won, someone would have passed me but I would have given myself a better shot.

“In a headwind there’s not much you can do. I just waited. I gambled on them going and then the gap filled, I’ve seen them all jump.

“I went audibly with a swear word before I even sprinted, I just was making the most of it then, I knew I couldn’t win once they got the jump on me.”

The motor racing circuit provided wide roads but its tight hairpins left only one racing line and several riders later questioned the safety of the route.

Fabio Jakobsen, a contender for the stage win, went down with 1,600 metres to go, the first of three crashes on the circuit.

Cavendish’s team-mate Sanchez, caught in the second, was taken to hospital for checks, Astana-Qazaqstan said.

The late drama was in contrast to the sedate pace for much of the day. The 182km flat stage from Dax failed to draw out a breakaway at the start as the peloton settled in for a slow day, saving their legs for two mountainous days to come before the sprinters get another chance in Bordeaux on Friday.

At least Philipsen, made to wait 20 minutes for confirmation of his win on Monday, could start celebrations immediately this time.

“It was really an easy stage,” he said. “I think everybody wanted to save their legs for the Pyrenees tomorrow and the day after but the final kilometres entering the circuit there were some crashes so I hope everybody is OK and safe.

“It was a hectic final with the turns in the end I lost my team but in the final straight I found Mathieu van der Poel and he did an amazing pull to get me to victory. My legs were cramping and Caleb was coming close.”

Rate this item
(0 votes)
Last modified on Tuesday, 04 July 2023 12:34
© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.