Jasper Philipsen wins stage 10 of the Tour de France.

Jasper Philipsen, winless no more at the 2024 Tour

Jasper Philipsen and Alpecin-Deceuninck overcome 'doubt' to take a long-awaited victory.

Dane Cash
by Dane Cash 09.07.2024 Photography by
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The wait is over for Jasper Philipsen and Alpecin-Deceuninck. After more than a week of winless racing at the 2024 Tour de France, Philipsen powered to a convincing victory on Tuesday’s stage 10.

For the sprinter who won three stages in just the first week of last year’s Tour, it was a much longer wait than expected, but rider and team eventually got the job done despite the frustrations of so many stages that didn’t go their way, including one that even saw Philipsen relegated for an irregular sprint.

“Finally, today, we could do what we came for,” Philipsen said after his victory. “I’m really happy for the team, they kept on believing and we could play to our strengths.”

That Philipsen was able to get his first win of this year’s race after so many missed opportunities came down to the resilience of both rider and team. As his star teammate and lead-out man Mathieu van der Poel explained after the much-needed win, it was a matter of overcoming “doubt.”

Asked what he had told Philipsen ahead of stage 10, Van der Poel explained, “Not too much, just that he did not have to doubt himself and start his sprint at the right moment. I think when he was disqualified against [Dylan] Groenewegen it was also a perfect lead-out but then he doubted a bit too much. We said to just don’t doubt and launch his sprint.”

The team’s lack of wins over the first nine stages of the race might have been cause for angst within the team whose sprint leader was the bookies’ favorite for nearly every sprint stage in the Tour, but Alpecin also had reasons to remain optimistic. Philipsen finished second on two occasions, and he was the second rider across the line on the day where he was relegated as well. Clearly, he brought form into the Tour, and if he could just maintain his confidence and nail the positioning, a sprint win was possible.

Indeed, the team was committed to continuing to back Philipsen and keep its approach to the sprint stages more or less the same rather than altering the plan in the wake of repeated failures. That commitment worked out on Tuesday.

“Everybody knows what is his job, so we really know what we have to do,” Alpecin’s Axel Laurance said. “The briefing didn’t change since the start [of the Tour].”

One difference for Tuesday’s stage was that it came after a rest day, and team co-founder Christoph Roodhoft said that the team took that opportunity to relax and recharge – and take their minds off of the first week’s frustrations.

“The rest day did well for the whole team,” he said. “We could talk with each other without talking too much about cycling in general and it was all good for us.”

Jasper Philipsen is seen in profile sprinting for the finish line on stage 10 of the 2024 Tour de France. He's on the left side of the frame, fans leaning over white barriers with an "F Leclerc" logo. Biniam Girmay appears on the far right, emerging halfway into the frame in a futile chase. He is a bike length behind.
A perfect lead-out and good form meant a clear gap between Philipsen and the rest, with even Girmay unable to close.

On Tuesday, a re-focused Alpecin squad nailed the lead-out, as Van der Poel took Philipsen into the final 200 meters, where the Belgian could launch his sprint in perfect position. When he did, no one came especially close to matching him.

“It was sprint like we like it, a very fast one and completely in a tailwind,” Roodhoft said. “Mathieu was in good shape and he was fully there for him. I think for Jasper it was the easiest sprint of the week.”

After watching Biniam Girmay, Mark Cavendish and Dylan Groenewegen all take wins on days where Philipsen had been favored, Alpecin stayed the course and got it right on Tuesday. They can now breathe easier.

“It’s a big relief,” Philipsen said. “We can finally show our strength. Together with our lead-out train, we did finally what we came for. We could line it up and it was perfect from our team.”

With the first win of the Tour in the bag, Alpecin can also start to think about racking up more of them in the days to come. It is a sprinter-friendly Tour, and more opportunities await. Now that the team has opened its proverbial account, the pressure will subside a bit, and everyone can focus on doing it again.

“It’s the Tour de France so it’s never easy to win but today we changed this,” Laurance said. “For sure, for the team it’s really nice and it will give a lot of motivation for the next stages.”

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