In the midst of chaos, Belgian cyclist Jasper Philipsen secured his second consecutive victory in the Tour de France after yesterday’s win. Several competitors fell during the final circuit on Tuesday. Runner-up was Australian Caleb Ewan, with Germany’s Phil Bauhaus taking third place in the 182km fourth stage from Dax. Adam Yates, a Brit, retained the much-coveted yellow jersey as the overall leader.
The day was primarily slow-paced until the finale on the Paul Armagnac racing track, not far from vineyards once owned by Luis Ocana, the 1973 Tour champion from Spain. Just over 1.5 kilometres from the finish line, European champion Fabio Jakobsen had a fall on a right-hand bend, a surprise for many riders. A chaos-filled race was how Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl sports director Tom Steels described the day. However, he mentioned no severe injuries, adding that it was more because of fierce competition due to the relatively easy stage.
Within the last kilometre, several riders crashed. Despite this, nothing could obstruct Philipsen, who benefited from a superb lead-out, becoming the first sprinter since Dylan Groenewegen in 2018 to secure successive victories on the Tour. Philipsen also took over the green jersey from France’s Victor Lafay, winner of Stage 2, as the points classification leader.
Philipsen expressed his delight about the two consecutive wins, acknowledging the close competition with Caleb Ewan. He also expressed concern for the riders who had fallen during the race. Monday’s third-place Ewan has acknowledged that he needs to do “some work” to outperform Philipsen, who has triumphed in the last four bunch sprints on the Tour.
The Tour de France continues its challenging journey on Wednesday, moving to the mountains with a 162.5km trip from Pau to Laruns, including two gruelling climbs. Yates leads the overall standings, six seconds ahead of the 2020 and 2021 Tour winner Tadej Pogacar and his teammate from UAE Emirates. Yates’ twin brother Simon is in third place, also six seconds behind. The defending champion, Jonas Vingegaard, is in sixth place, 11 seconds further back.
2023 Tour de France Stage 4 result
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Main photo credit: Daniel Cole