Even with a hat trick of victories already in the bag at this year’s Tour de France, Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) was plenty hungry for more on Wednesday, and he left no room for doubt en route to yet another sprint win on stage 11, his fourth of this race and the sixth in his career.
Freelancing and surfing wheels in this finale more than he had in other sprints so far, Philipsen weaved his way into position behind Dylan Groenewegen (Jayco-AlUla) in the final few hundred meters. He stayed in Groenewegen’s slipstream for a moment when the Dutchman launched, and then Philipsen opened his own sprint, exploding to the front and taking a clear and convincing win in Moulins.
Groenewegen settled for second with Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain Victorious) taking third. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) and the rest of the big GC names finished safely in the peloton.
- A flat profile made Wednesday’s stage the last obvious opportunity for the sprinters for some time, and that was rarely in doubt throughout the day despite the efforts of a doomed breakaway that was never given much room. Daniel Oss (TotalEnergies) pressed on the longest before being caught inside the last 15 km.
- It rained on and off throughout the afternoon, and the wind occasionally picked up, raising at least the threat of echelons, but the weather was never inclement enough to create much chaos on the road.
- Philipsen was the first rider from the pack to cross the intermediate sprint point. Combined with his stage win, the day further extended the Belgian’s green jersey lead. With 323 points, he now has a huge advantage to Bryan Coquard (Cofidis) in second place at 178.
- Jumbo-Visma set a torrid pace in the final 5 km with Vingegaard sitting safely near the front of a seemingly somewhat nervous bunch. After the pack went under the three-kilometers-to-go banner, more sprinters’ teams started to battle for position at the front in a winding finale. In contrast to previous stages, Mathieu van der Poel was not in the mix late in the stage for his teammate Philipsen, who was on his own in the final several hundred meters.
- Going it alone in the end didn’t stop Philipsen from finding the right wheel in a hectic sprint and then surging to a dominant win.
- Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck)
- Dylan Groenewegen (Jayco-AlUla)
- Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain Victorious)
- Bryan Coquard (Cofidis)
- Alexander Kristoff (Uno-X) all at same time
- Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) 42:33:13
- Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) @ :17
- Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) @ 2:40
- Carlos Rodríguez (Ineos Grenadiers) @ 4:22
- Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) @ 4:34
- Alpecin-Fenix led the peloton under the flamme rouge but did not set up Philipsen with as structured a lead-out as he had enjoyed in other stages at this Tour. Indeed, with some 500 meters to go, Philipsen did not seem to be in a particularly great spot for a sprint, finding himself several wheels back in the pack, next to Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) and looking for a way through traffic to get involved.
- Luka Mezgec (Jayco-AlUla) and Søren Wærenskjold (Uno-X) were the final lead-out riders on the front for Groenewegen and Alexander Kristoff, respectively. When they peeled off, Groenewegen quickly surged past Kristoff into the lead with 250 meters to go, but Philipsen had managed to make his way onto the Dutchman’s wheel.
- When Philipsen finally jumped, he did so with a massive turn of speed that quickly left everyone in the rearview mirror. Even without a full-fledged lead-out, he took a very convincing stage win, showing that he has the savvy and the speed to go it alone sometimes too.
What’s next: Stage 12 preview
After traversing a relatively uncomplicated profile on stage 11, the peloton will head into the hills for a very breakaway-friendly stage 12. Across 169 km of racing from Roanne to Belleville-en-Beaujolais, the peloton will tackle two early third-category climbs and some uncategorized climbs before a trio of climbs in the final 60 km (a Cat 3 and then a pair of Cat 2s) will give the more aggressive riders an opportunity to attack. It will be a tough one to predict, with the likes of Julian Alaphilippe, Neilson Powless, Giulio Ciccone, Matteo Jorgensen, and Mike Woods all among the potential stage hunters.
Best of social media
Wednesday provided television viewers with one of the best team radio bits so far in the race, though we’re not really sure what it means or if it’s all just a joke. Feel free to weigh in …
- If you’ve been wondering exactly what Soudal-QuickStep’s riders are eating for every meal, you’re in luck.
- Torstein Træen has been riding with a broken elbow since stage 1 of the Tour.
- Joe Lindsey explores the science of how the peloton moves.
- Matt de Neef previews the showdown to come at the Tour de France Femmes.
- Was Strava used in an assassination?
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