For the third day in a row, Wout van Aert completed stage 3 of the Tour de France with a quantity two by his title as Dylan Groenewegen narrowly beat him throughout the road.
“3 times second and coming nearer day-after-day, however this one was positively the one I had in my very own head, the primary huge disappointment I might say,” Van Aert mentioned after the stage, admitting that perhaps he’d launched his dash a bit early. “The previous two days I received overwhelmed by stronger riders, and for right this moment Dylan was certain robust, however I needed to wait a bit longer within the wheel of Christophe [Laporte]. It was my very own fault, I used to be too early within the wind.”
Because the Tour leaves Denmark, Van Aert has loads of alternatives to go one higher, particularly within the coming week.
“What’s coming might be actually demanding,” he mentioned. “After the remaining day, each stage has tough components, one thing particular just like the cobbles. Personally I might say it’s in my favour when the levels are a bit tougher. I’m wanting ahead to this and am wanting ahead to combining our two ambitions.”
Whereas Van Aert stays within the yellow jersey that Jumbo-Visma hopes to see on the again of Primož Roglič or Jonas Vingegaard earlier than Paris, it’s the inexperienced jersey of the factors classification that the Belgian is right here for, and he’s up to now on observe; after three levels, he has a 17-point lead over pure sprinter Fabio Jakobsen.
Certain, Van Aert would love a win and 17 factors isn’t precisely big – Jakobsen would take the lead with yet another stage win, and he might properly on Tuesday’s stage 4 – however it’s a protracted race and the factors classification is designed for consistency and flexibility on all terrains.
‘Consistency’ is the operative phrase. Simply ask Peter Sagan.
Final decade, the Slovakian dominated the inexperienced jersey competitors, profitable it seven instances between 2012 and 2019 (2017 the one exception after his disqualification on stage 4). He received 12 levels alongside the best way, however in that point Sagan additionally grew to become recognized for ending second. Of his 47 podium finishes throughout ten Excursions de France, a large 22 have been one wanting victory – equalling Erik Zabel’s runner-up report.
After 4 stage wins throughout Sagan’s first two profitable inexperienced jersey campaigns, 2014 was the primary of two years straight with no stage victory. His listing of leads to the primary seven days was a outstanding 2, 4, 2, 4, 4, 5, 2, and he took one other second and third every earlier than Paris. Infuriating? Perhaps. But it surely labored.
Together with his fourth Tour underway, Van Aert has now amassed seven stage wins (together with a TTT), two thirds and 5 runner-up spots. That is the primary 12 months he’s set his sights on inexperienced although, so we’re anticipating to see him within the combine and freed of staff duties greater than in earlier Excursions.
With one other doubtless dash on Tuesday’s stage 4, the ‘Paris-Roubaix’ stage on Wednesday and an uphill sprint earlier than the primary go to to the mountains on the finish of the week, Van Aert’s first seven days might properly look very like Sagan’s in 2014. However as we’ve established, it really works.
For now, Van Aert is doing his greatest to neutralise his disappointment by reminding himself of the jersey he will get to put on.
“I believe I’d quite drive myself to be proud of this place,” Van Aert mentioned. “I dreamed for a very long time to put on this yellow jersey. It’s been a giant objective this complete season. Every part goes actually good. However such as you say, I wish to win races. However then in case you come shut like I did the previous couple of days it’s generally with combined emotions.”