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Wout van Aert has sprinted to third place in the opening stage of Critérium du Dauphiné. The Belgian rider of Team Jumbo-Visma only had to give in to Boasson Hagen and Gilbert in the sprint of the reduced peloton.
The stage from Aurillac to Jussac went over accidented terrain. The entire stage the pace was very high and the remaining riders from the breakaway got caught in the last kilometre.
“It’s a real good start for me to be in the white jersey at the end of stage one”, van Aert said. “The day went very well. I managed to keep some strength to be diligent in the final and it went pretty well. Maybe I could have done better. My sprint wasn’t perfect, especially because I slowed down a bit in the last corner when Alaphilippe was leading out Gilbert. Eventually, it’s a nice result. It confirms that I’m in good form and if there are other opportunities, I’ll try my luck again.”
Thanks to the four bonification seconds, he’s now third in the general classification and the leader of the young rider classification.
The French stage race is the first multiple day World Tour race for Van Aert. He and Steven Kruijswijk have spent their time on high altitude the last few weeks to prepare themselves in the best possible way.
Kruijswijk crossed the finish line without any problems in the decimated peloton with the other GC riders.