Photo of the week: On Tour
Wout Van Aert became the third Flemish rider in a week to win a stage at the Tour de France
‘This is a big surprise’
It was the icing on the cake for Van Aert who’s turning out to have one amazing UCI World Tour debut year. The 24-year-old cyclo-cross champion broke his contract with Belgian team Vérandas Willems-Crelan last year to join the Dutch Jumbo-Visma.
The move appears to have suited him: He won the Time Trial in the National Road Championships as well as the bronze medal and two stages at the Critérium du Dauphiné.
Van Aert also came in second in stages 2 and 5 of the Tour de France, and his team won the stage 2 time trial. Now Van Aert is a favourite in the upcoming stage 13 individual time trial, which takes place today.
“As a team, we already had some coming into the race, but this is way more than we could have hoped for,” Van Aert told Cycling News after the stage 10 win. “When I wake up on the day of the [cyclo-cross] world championships, I know I can win it. This here, is a big surprise.”
The Tour de France departed in Brussels this year for the first time since 1958. It was the 50th anniversary of the legendary Flemish cyclist Eddy Merckx’s first Tour victory and the 100th anniversary of the Yellow Jersey, which Merckx wore a record 111 times. Tens of thousands of people descended on the capital on the 6-7 July weekend for the first stages and related festivities.
The Tour has been good to Flemish riders so far: Dylan Teuns of Bahrain-Merida won stage 6 at the end of a brutal climb last week, and Thomas De Gendt of Lotto-Soudal won stage 8 last weekend. Tim Wellens of Lotto-Soudal, meanwhile, is currently wearing the polka-dot jersey for best climbing.
Photo: David Stockman/BELGA
number of times Merckx won the Tour de France
first Tour of Flanders
Merckx becomes first Belgian to win the Tour de France in 30 years