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Van Aert remains second in general classification, but sees outstanding Pogacar take yellow

Van Aert remains second in general classification, but sees outstanding Pogacar take yellow

Wout van Aert remains second in the general classification after the first mountain stage of the Tour de France. The champion of Belgium was not able to take the yellow jersey in the stage to Le Grand Bornand. Defending champion Tadej Pogacar was unapproachable and passed Van Aert in the ranking.

After a fast opening phase, a reduced peloton remained. On behalf of Team Jumbo-Visma Van Aert, Jonas Vingegaard, Steven Kruijswijk and Sepp Kuss were present. Kuss then broke away from that peloton with a few riders. The American was unable to interfere in the battle for the stage win from that leading group. That went to Dylan Teuns.

“Once I was in the leading group, my best legs were gone”, Kuss said. “I had given just a little too much to get there. We wanted a smaller group to go or a bigger group with one of us in it. It was good that I was there, but unfortunately I couldn’t play a significant role. When I was caught, I tried to help Wout.”

Vingegaard encountered the asphalt on the way, but was able to quickly continue with a new bike. The young Dane rode to tenth place in the stage result with some scrapes and moved up to fifth place in the general classification.

Sportive director Merijn Zeeman shared his feelings on the Tour of Vingegaard before the start of the eighth stage. “For Jonas it is his first Tour de France. He is given time to learn and gain experience. We have a long-term plan with him. This is a very welcome experience for him in that plan. In the future we will set higher goals for Jonas in the Tour de France, but that will not be for this year. He now gets the chance and we see that as part of this learning process. We try to train a guy like Jonas, but also someone like Tobias Foss, in the shadow to become a rider for the general classification.”

Sports director Grischa Niermann knew in advance that the stage would explode early. “It was a very tough stage. The whole stage was ridden at full speed and in combination with the bad weather it meant a lot of suffering. On the Col de Romme the whole thing came apart and Pogacar showed that he was in a league of his own. Still, Wout kept fighting for that yellow jersey, but he fell short for the yellow. We are now second and fifth in the standings. Hopefully the damage is not too bad for Jonas.”

Primoz Roglic looked for a place in the gruppetto so as not to put too much strain on his battered body.

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