Tour de France: Van Aert conquers Ventoux, Pogacar dropped by Vingegaard but recovers

By Sports Desk July 07, 2021

Wout van Aert claimed a superb victory after Wednesday's unprecedented double climb of Mont Ventoux as Tadej Pogacar came through a stern examination of his bid for back-to-back Tour de France titles on stage 11.

It was the first time in Tour history that riders climbed the imposing and iconic Giant of Provence twice in the same stage and Belgium's Van Aert showed his superb all-round capabilities after finishing second to Mark Cavendish in the Green Jersey during Tuesday's sprint finish at Valance.

The Jumbo-Visma rider crested Ventoux first the second time around and then showcased his expert descending skills to claim an unforgettable first Tour win in five hours, 17 minutes and 43 seconds, ending the day triumphantly for his team after colleague Tony Martin suffered another painful fall and withdrew.

"I'm lost for words," Van Aert said. "It's stupid to say but I wanted to win this stage before the Tour de France.

"Maybe it's my best victory ever. If you believe in it everything is possible. It's emotional."

Pogacar's advantage is now five minutes and 18 seconds, ahead of Rigoberto Uran, with Australia's Ben O'Connor dropped by the Yellow Jersey group inside the final 30 kilometres to fall from second to fifth overall, behind fourth-placed Richard Carapaz and Van Aert's team-mate Jonas Vingegaard.

Vingegaard supplied the most dramatic moment of the day when he dropped Pogacar near the end of the second ascent and opened up a 37-second gap.

Pogacar was able to claw that back in the company of Uran and INEOS Grenadiers' Carapaz to cross the line in fourth – ahead of his Danish rival Vingegaard, who was given the same time of +1:38 having exposed hitherto unseen hints of weakness within the favourite's considerable armour.

World champion Julian Alaphilippe was the first over the summit of Ventoux on the initial climb but faded from contention.

Fans lining the route at least had something to cheer as Frenchman Kenny Elissonde crossed the line in second alongside Bauke Mollema – the Trek-Segafredo duo each clocking in at +1:14 behind Van Aert.

STAGE RESULT

1. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) 5:17:43
2. Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo) +1:14
3. Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) +1:14 
4. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) +1:38
5. Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First) +1:38

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 38:25:17
2. Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First) +5:18
3. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) +5:32

Points Classification

1. Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 218
2. Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange) 160
3. Jasper Philipsen  (Alpecin-Fenix) 142

King of the Mountains

1. Nairo Quintana (Arkea-Samsic) 50
2. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) 44
3. Michael Woods (Israel Start-Up Nation) 42

What's next?

After a day of hard toil, the sprinters can again be the main attraction on stage 12, with the 159.4km route from Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux to Nimes expected to end in a bunched finish.

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