Tour de France leader Wout van Aert ready for ‘really demanding’ stages


The cobbles of phase 5 loom big on the agenda just after the Tour de France returned house from a amazing Grand Depart in Denmark.

Riders enjoyed an unusually early rest working day on Monday – involved to let for the transfer back to northern France – with riders traveling into Lille following Sunday’s phase to Sonderborg.

Nevertheless a hilly race between Dunkerque and Calais is up coming up on Tuesday, it is Wednesday’s phase amongst Lille and Arenberg which is previously on the minds of quite a few riders.

“Wednesday will be a big working day on the cobbles,” stated the Ineos Grenadiers’ Geraint Thomas. “We’ve received to rest up, delight in the relaxation day and then get back again into it.

“You kind of get into the rhythm of (the race), you want to hold heading so you do not want to have to vacation and have this relaxation working day.”

Wednesday’s stage will choose riders into territory much more normally involved with Paris-Roubaix and the brutal cobbles which make the ‘Hell of the North’ 1 of the most feared races on the calendar.

The Tour will steer distinct of the most famous sectors from that race and find out new territory, ending in Arenberg but bypassing its eponymous trench, but that only provides an ingredient of the not known.

For the likes of Thomas, Tadej Pogacar and Primoz Roglic – these with ambitions of wearing yellow in Paris in three weeks’ time – it is a day to endure and survive, exactly where no successful moves can be made but the Tour could unquestionably be missing to personal injury or incident.

But for the guy at present in yellow, Wout van Aert, it is a working day when he could nicely just take stage honours, regarded as a single of the major favourites for the working day together with Mathieu Van der Poel.

“I consider what’s coming will be truly demanding immediately after the rest working day,” the Belgian reported. “Every phase has tricky components, anything specific like the cobbles. I’m looking ahead to it.”

Van Aert is on double responsibility in this year’s Tour, targeting the green jersey in the points classification while operating to enable Jumbo-Visma staff-mate Roglic unseat UAE Crew Emirates’ two-time defending champion Pogacar in the struggle for yellow.

The actuality Van Aert dons yellow immediately after 3 times, when also top the points classification, is down to him ending 2nd in all a few levels so significantly – anything he said was “not humorous anymore”.

“I have to be really pleased with this posture,” he added. “I dreamed for a extended time to use the yellow jersey and we are performing fantastic things for green as nicely which has been a big intention all year.

“Everything is superior but I like to earn races so if I occur near like I did in the very last pair of days sometimes it is with mixed inner thoughts.”

Van Aert need to observe his step in the coming times after he was fined for littering on Sunday. A next offence would have a one particular-moment penalty.

Denmark dealt with the Tour to amazing scenery and substantial crowds in excess of the weekend, but riders landed in northern France to learn of the horrific capturing in Copenhagen which still left at minimum a few men and women dead on Sunday.

Tour organisers ASO issued a statement expressing “sympathy and compassion” for the victims.

“The Tour is extremely stunned and saddened to listen to of what has took place in Copenhagen,” the statement added.

“The individuals of Copenhagen experienced presented the peloton a person of the biggest welcomes in the sport’s history, forging deep bonds with all its followers. The complete caravan of the Tour de France sends its sincerest condolences to the victims and their families.”


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