Arguably the 2 most fun abilities within the males’s peloton dominated the story on the longest stage of this yr’s Tour, 220 kilometres between Binche, Belgium and Longwy that had been raced at a ferocious tempo, a mean pace of 49km an hour seeing the peloton get residence half an hour sooner than predicted.
For the primary 210km it was all about Van Aert on what can be his final day in yellow, the Belgian driving the tempo on residence roads as he powered the breakaway clear, then rising because the final survivor as he tried to tackle the peloton alone for the ultimate 30km.
Defending champion Tadej Pogacar powered clear to win stage six of the Tour de France and take the general lead after the peloton denied Wout Van Aert what would have been a outstanding solo victory within the yellow jersey.
However after he was reeled in 10km from Longwy – sitting up and ending some seven minutes down – Pogacar took over, following a late assault from fellow Slovenian Primoz Roglic up the brief closing climb after which powering away from Michael Matthews to take a win he was in a position to have fun wanting the road.
The Ineos Grenadiers’ Tour debutant Tom Pidcock got here residence fourth simply forward of team-mates Adam Yates and Geraint Thomas, however all had been left trailing within the wake of Pogacar.
“Each time I win it’s even higher,” the UAE Workforce Emirates rider mentioned. “In the present day was so arduous from the beginning. The primary two hours had been loopy and the strongest man went within the breakaway.
“A number of guys had been pulling and in the long run the peloton was stronger. Once we got here to the climbs I used to be feeling good and the staff did an extremely good job of bringing me to the proper place so I’m completely satisfied.”
Talking earlier than his yellow jersey was confirmed, he mentioned of taking the race lead: “I wouldn’t thoughts it for positive. I’m tremendous completely satisfied to take the win and the rest is a bonus. We’ll take into consideration this within the subsequent days.”
Because of the bonus seconds for his win, Pogacar now leads general by 4 seconds from Neilson Powless.
With the primary summit end to return on La Planche des Belles Filles on Friday, Jonas Vingegaard sits third, 31 seconds down, with the Ineos trio of Yates, Pidcock and Thomas fourth, fifth and sixth, all inside 46 seconds of Pogacar.
Van Aert would have identified the yellow jersey was not going to be his for for much longer given the mountains to return, however he selected to go down swinging after a outstanding opening week of the Tour for the 27-year-old.
Having completed second in all three of the opening phases, on Tuesday he rode away from the peloton late on to take a surprising solo win into Calais.
Then he sacrificed his personal ambitions on the cobbles of northern France on Wednesday to salvage Vingegaard’s race after damage and incident hit Jumbo-Visma on a chaotic day on the cobbles.
Unbowed, he then took on the Tour’s longest day in aggressive style. The break would take a outstanding 80km to type however Van Aert’s dedication to be in it stored the tempo relentlessly excessive.
Jakob Fuglsang fell away with 65km to go, then Quinn Simmons gave a puff of the cheeks and a shake of the top as Van Aert went alone to attempt to defend a minute’s benefit for the ultimate 30km of the race.