Victory of honor for Wout Van Aert against a human Pogacar

Road 07/07/21 22:30 Migue A.

It was one of those days marked in red on the calendar. A particular mountain stage with a main course. Or should we say two main courses: double ascent of Mont Ventoux in this stage 11 of the Tour de France 2021, although even so, the finish was not at the highest peak, but from there down to Malaucéne. Van Aert was the best breakaway from afar, and Pogacar suffered on the last uphill stretch in front of Vingegaard. Great day for Jumbo Visma after a difficult Tour.


First escapes and broken race

Practically 200 kilometers from Sorgues with a couple of steep climbs, two first class passes and a special one, including in that list those two climbs to one of the great monuments in the history of the Tour. A monumental stage ahead. That's why, with so much ahead, it was surprising that Julian Alaphilippe was the first to attack. He actually went wheel-to-wheel on the first attack, but it's still just as surprising.


It was the prelude to the first 40 kilometers, of constant attacks and names pointed out in those hits, including that of Wout Van Aert. The Belgian was hungry. A desire that, seeing it live, perhaps should have been saved for the hard face of Ventoux.


In a stage with so many mountains, the last thing you think about is the occurrence of events more typical of the first days, such as crashes. But the first phase, as we said, was more typical of a sprint stage, so between attacks, cuts and rhythm, they appeared. Tony Martin was the worst affected. The Jumbo Visma is living a frankly catastrophic Tour de France 2021 in which only Van Aert is really saving the day. Because in this case, Martin's crash was hard. When he got to his feet we could see numerous injuries and we assumed he would retire, and he did. He goes home, and this is the fifth time he has started and not finished the Tour because of these incidents.


But the real thrill of the race was in the breakaway of Alaphilippe with Quintana, who stayed even with the pace set by the Frenchman. And also in cyclists like Simon Yates or Wout Van Aert, who wanted to join the party. Cyclists like Cavendish, who know that today is a day for others, were left off the list in the face of such pace and intentions.


A four-man breakaway, with Alaphilippe, Dan Martin, Anthony Perez and Pierre Rolland had a 1-minute lead that was extended to almost 2 minutes. Pogacar changed bikes and Ineos controlled the peloton from behind. It controlled the peloton, but not the race, because the advantage of Alaphilippe and company was already 4 minutes. And the group was no longer 4, but was joined by another large breakaway group.

Van Aert escapes alone and Pogacar loses steam on the Ventoux

As Nairo Quintana dropped off on the first uphill climb to Ventoux, the lead group was being sorted out. There were seven riders with almost a minute on the chasers and much more on the peloton, almost 5 minutes. So, faced with this reality, UAE pulled on the uphill and Ineos managed the downhill with the aim of reducing the differences in the face of the second ascent of Mont Ventoux. There were still 50 kilometers and that wall ahead, so Pogacar's team didn't seem to have any fear. But the stage, at least, was getting interesting.


If Alaphilippe can climb at the pace of the best, downhill he can win. We all know how the Frenchman descends: he's a real madman, even a bit reckless, but tremendously confident. And the stage was winnable going downhill. So Wout Van Aert said no more and wanted to avoid that. Only Elissonde could follow him, but not Alaphilippe. The stage was opening up. Even more so when Van Aert changed the pace and descended his last challenge. He was heading to the moonscape of Ventoux with a little fog at the top. He was on his way to the victory. Tremendous image of Van Aert. And vindication of Jumbo Visma precisely.


Because behind, Jonas Vingegaard was attacking and only Pogacar was following his wheel. But, and here came a special moment, Pogacar gave in to the push of the Danish rider. It is the first time in this Tour de France 2021 that we see suffer and succumb to the leader and top favorite. He is human, confirmed. More than 40 seconds went into the last stretch of Mont Ventoux and only left the option for Pogacar to join Carapaz and Urán to form a safe trio. Enric Mas was fading, not too much, but enough to rule out any Spanish option in this Tour de France 2021.


With 10 kilometers to go, it looked difficult for Wout Van Aert to escape the stage and behind, although with a show and that Pogacar's rush, there was not much excitement with the strongest trio together. But the spotlight was on Van Aert: yesterday he came second in the sprint. He has won the Cyclocross World Cup and was runner-up in the World Championship. Tremendous cyclist, capable of winning in all disciplines and all terrains. First stage win for Jumbo in this edition.


  1. Van Aert, W. - Jumbo Visma | 5:17:43
  2. Elissonde, K. - Trek Segafredo | +1:14
  3. Mollema, B. - Trek Segafredo | +1:14
  4. Pogacar, T. - UAE | +1:38


  1. Pogacar, T. - UAE | 43:44:38
  2. Uran, R. - EF Nippo | +5:18
  3. Vingegard, J. - Jumbo Visma | +5:32



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Victoria de honor para Wout Van Aert ante un Pogacar humano