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Van Aert recaptures leader's jersey Dauphiné despite premature victory gesture

Van Aert recaptures leader's jersey Dauphiné despite premature victory gesture

Wout van Aert has recaptured the yellow leader's jersey with the second place in the third stage of Critérium du Dauphiné. The Belgian champion thought that he had won the stage, but after his victory gesture, he saw Frenchman David Gaudu pass him with an ultimate jump.

From the start, the road went up. Several riders broke away in the stage with over 2700 altimetres. The peloton kept the escapees under control all day. In the stage's final phase, Team Jumbo-Visma took the lead and made sure the breakaway was caught before the 6.2-kilometre-long final climb. Chris Harper, Christophe Laporte and Tiesj Benoot were mainly responsible for that.

Steven Kruijswijk put himself at the head of the now depleted peloton as the road began to climb. Shortly after the Dutchman's turn, Jonas Vingegaard took over. The Dane, with the leaders Primoz Roglic and Van Aert in his wheel, made sure no one could escape from the group of favourites. Van Aert seemed to have a bad moment, but the hard-working Vingegaard brought him back to the head of the race.

As a result, Van Aert was able to sprint for the victory. The Belgian champion seemed to be heading for the win and threw his hands in the air. To everyone's great surprise, Gaudu came racing past. The opening stage winner immediately realised that not he but the Frenchman had pushed his wheel over the line first. Partly due to the accumulated bonification seconds, Van Aert is now back at the top of the classification. Roglic finished twelfth and is now in eighth place in the overall ranking.

"This is a rookie mistake. I can't describe it in any other way", Van Aert said. "The team worked hard all day with one goal in mind. We desperately wanted to win a stage again. Therefore it is all the more painful that I let it slip out of my hands in such a way. Something like that has never happened to me before. I could kick myself. I was so close, but I gave it away. When I passed the Cofidis rider on my left, I thought I would push my wheel over the line first. On a finish like this, you lose pure speed very quickly. David passed me very quickly and I realised I had made a mistake."

"Very quickly I realised I had made a mistake"

Wout van Aert

Van Aert once again praised his team's work and he had no intention of throwing the towel. "I was on my limit on the climb's steep parts. Thanks to Jonas I was able to sprint for the win. Tomorrow is the time trial. I'm really looking forward to that. Hopefully I will recover quickly because it was not an easy day. Tomorrow I will do everything I can to defend my yellow jersey. Hopefully I can also compete for the stage win again. I have some making up to do", he concluded with a wink.

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