Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) left The Breakaway gang in shock after ripping away to a stunning victory on Stage 4 at the Tour de France.
After three consecutive runner-up finishes in the Danish Grand Depart, Van Aert and his Jumbo-Visma colleagues set about decimating the bunch with a fierce attack on the final climb on Tuesday's first outing on French soil.
By the top, only the Belgian remained. The 27-year-old zipped clear and time trialled his way towards the finish in Calais, while those behind – shredded and strewn across the road – set about regrouping for a chase effort.
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But despite the bunch belatedly clicking into action, Van Aert rarely looked like being captured as he tore away in the yellow jersey, even having time to comically flap his arms in celebration as a sprint for second – or in Jasper Philipsen’s case, for first – unfolded behind.
“I’m in shock about Wout van Aert. I have never seen a rider do that in the yellow jersey and never in the Tour de France,” said Eurosport expert Adam Blythe.
“Attacking a climb over the top and then just keep going – bam, bam, bam!
“I can’t remember the last time I saw someone in the Tour de France demolish a peloton just on his own like that.
“I know he attacked with team-mates on the climb but the best climbers in the world… [Tadej] Pogacar - nowhere to be seen, team-mates - gone, Adam Yates - gone, [Jonas] Vingegaard - gone. All off his wheel.
“And then he just went, ‘Oh god, I'll just get on with it’.”

Stage 4 highlights: Van Aert decimates field to claim stunning win

Van Aert extended his lead in the general classification to 25 seconds over Stage 1 winner Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl). Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) is third at 32”.
“It was thrilling. I think everyone was cheering for Wout van Aert because that was a huge attack and the celebration was great too,” said Robbie McEwen.
“[Jumbo Visma] positioned themselves perfectly, it was like watching one of the Spring Classics. When there is that show of strength, there is really not much anyone can do.
“To go away like that, and still when it was obvious what was going to happen, it was still surprising to see it happen with such a show of power.”
Van Aert became the third rider in history to win a bunch sprint, mountain stage and individual time trial at the same Tour in 2021, joining greats Bernard Hinault (1979) and Eddy Merckx (1974) in the record books.
He could also get amongst it on Stage 5’s cobbles, with a potential showdown looming with fellow multi-talented star Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck).
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