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’

Flemish cyclist Wout Van Aert of Team Jumbo-Visma was suitably pleased with his win of the 10th stage of the Tour de France earlier this week. His final sprint in Albi was impressive, as he just edged out the clearly disappointed Italian cyclist Elia Viviani.

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

Flemish cycling

Flemish cyclists have played a dominant role in the history of European bicycle racing. With the Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders), the region also has a classic cycle race.
Flandriens - The legendary pioneers of the Flemish cycling tradition are called “Flandriens”. They include Roger De Vlaeminck, Eddy Planckaert, Johan Museeuw and Walter Godefroot.
Eddy Merckx - Having won 525 races in his career, Brusselaar Eddy Merckx, nicknamed “the Cannibal”, is considered one of the greatest cyclists of all time.
Trophy - The annual Flandrien Trophy honours the best Belgian cyclist of the past season. Professional cyclists choose and vote for the nominees.

number of times Merckx won the Tour de France

1 913

first Tour of Flanders

1 969

Merckx becomes first Belgian to win the Tour de France in 30 years