Wout van Aert – Wout van Aert wins Mont Ventoux stage before Mark Cavendish beats time to cut to keep Tour de France alive – GETTY IMAGES
Van Aert wins after cresting Mont Ventoux ahead of rivals
Pogacar extends lead, though shows moment of fallibility
Cavendish beats time to cut to keep his Tour dream alive
Ineos lose Rowe after Welshman misses time cut
As cracks go, this was more of a sliver. Not so much blood in the water as a scratch on the arm. But there is just a chance that Tadej Pogacar might not have won this Tour de France after all. The 22-year-old UAE Team Emirates rider, whose defense of his yellow jersey had until Wednesday been going so swimmingly he might as well have been fitted with a snorkel and flippers, was actually dropped on a climb.
It happened towards the top of the second ascent of Mont Ventoux, as Pogacar was following the wheel of the young Danish rider Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma). Vingegaard replaced Primoz Roglic as the team’s primary general classification hope after the latter was forced to abandon due to injury, and he has proved something of a revelation.
Only Pogacar was able to stay with him when he attacked with 23km to go, Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) and Rigoberto Uran (EF Education-Nippo) both dropping back. But soon, even Pogacar was unable to hold his wheel. It was a moment of high drama on the bald scree slopes of Ventoux, proof perhaps that in this extra-terrestrial setting, the Slovenian might be human after all.
Of course, it was only a fleeting display of frailty. Pogacar caught back up to Vingegaard on the descent into Malaucène with help from Carapaz and Uran. And he actually finished the day increasing his lead at the top of the GC to over five minutes after Ben O’Connor (AG2R-Citroen) cracked, the Australian falling from second to fifth on GC.
But all the same. It offered a sliver of hope to those who would like to see a contest for the yellow jersey over the next 10 days. Perhaps UAE Team Emirates’ rivals might feel more encouraged to test the yellow jersey now rather than settle for a podium spot. We shall see.
The stage itself was predictably brutal. Ventoux always produces fireworks. The last time we were here, in 2016, Chris Froome ran up part of the mountain after being knocked off his bike (he joked before the start on Wednesday that he had his trainers in the car).
But it was a different sort of fireworks this year. Instead of a summit finish, organizers ASO decided to get the peloton to schlep twice up the Giant of Provence, once from Sault, and then the next time from Bedoin, the most challenging approach. The fact that the temperature was nudging 35C did not help.
It did not seem to be an issue for Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma). The versatile Dutchman, who had finished runner-up to Mark Cavendish in Tuesday’s bunch sprint into Valence, made it into the day’s breakaway and then, as it thinned out on the second ascent of Ventoux, followed Kenny Elissonde’s (Trek-Segafredo) attack before riding clear over the summit and soloing to the finish.
It was a remarkable performance, not least because van Aert at 77kgs, weighs about 25kgs more than Elissonde. But we already knew from last year that the Jumbo-Visma rider could climb. And after Mathieu van der Poel’s heroics in the yellow jersey last week, it was almost inevitable that his great cyclocross rival van Aert would do something extraordinary as if to say ‘Hold my Leffe’.
Van Aert’s time on the stage dubbed ‘Mont Ven-two’ was 5 hours 17minutes 43 seconds, placing the time limit at 47:39. All eyes were then focused on Cavendish after his struggles in the Alps on Sunday when he snuck into Tignes with around a minute to spare and promptly broke down in tears.
But he made it home this time with around seven minutes to spare, meaning the Manxman will have the chance to sprint for what would be a record-equalling 34th Tour stage win in Nimes on Thursday, assuming his Deceuninck-QuickStep team can bring the race back together.
“We knew today we were not going to be as close to the time limit as we were on Sunday, but still, we had to be focused the whole day,” Cavendish said. “Everybody was there with me, helping me up and down the mountains. I’m exhausted – I guess everybody is. I’ve done many Tours de France, but this for sure is one of the hardest.”
It was not such good news for Luke Rowe, however. The Ineos Grenadiers rider was off the back all day and ended up missing the cut by a decent margin. With Jumbo-Visma losing Tony Martin to a crash early on in the stage? Those are two diesel engines that Ineos and Jumbo will not now be able to call on as they seek to chase down Pogacar. Even when he stumbles, it feels as if the Slovenian’s grip on the yellow jersey gets ever tighter.
As it happened
Cavendish finishes within the time limit
Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-Quick Step) has completed the stage and did so well within the time limit – he had 6min 59sec to spare. It was not such good news for Luke Rowe (Ineos Grenadiers); however, after the Welshman finished outside the time limit and so will be eliminated from the Tour de France. I always say this like a broken record, but cycling can be an extreme sport sometimes.
Just spotted the below video of Cavendish passing the Tom Simpson memorial where he paid respects to the rider who lost his life on Mont Ventoux in 1967. Cavendish fans will be hoping race commissaries can turn a blind eye to him removing his helmet – I’m sure they will – so that he can make the start line on Thursday. Riders are not allowed to remove their helmets during races but are often seen taking them off in situations like this.
Clock watching | Cavendish latest
The sprinter is still climbing and has 39min to complete this stage which he must do if he wants to make the start line on Thursday.
Van Aert wins stage 11 at the Tour!
Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) has landed his and his team’s first stage at this year’s Tour and is understandably very emotional. Despite winning the Belgian national championships in the countdown to the Tour, Van Aert’s form had been questioned, having not raced since Amstel Gold in April and has undergone surgery.
“It’s one of the most iconic climbs in the Tour, in the world of cycling, and it’s maybe my best victory ever,” Van Aert said immediately afterward. “Of course, it’s emotional. Personally, it was hard for me to come into this Tour at the proper level, and in the first week, we had so much bad luck with the team, and even today, we lost Tony Martin in a crash, so this is nice. If you keep being motivated, keep believing, someday it will work out, and I’m really proud.”
Those questions, however, have been answered here today with a powerful ride on the second ascent of Mont Ventoux when he effortlessly rode world champion Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) and Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) off his wheel before then catching and dropping Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo). Once in front, Van Aert did not look back. Just 1min 14sec after Van Aert crossed the line celebrating, Elissonde took second ahead of Trek-Segafredo teammate Mollema who was third.
As he reaches the finishing straight, Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) is caught by Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates), Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers), and Rigoberto Urán (EF Education-Nippo) before the race leader rolls him on the line to take fourth.
As a result of Ben O’Connor (Ag2r-Citroën) being dropped on the second ascent of Mont Ventoux and some aggressive racing from the Colombian in the finale, Urán moved up to second on general classification, Vingegaard climbed to second. Despite his wobble, though, Pogacar kept hold of his leader’s yellow jersey, and as a result of O’Connor dropping down to fifth in the standings, he increased his overall lead to a whopping 5min 18sec over Urán.
Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic), who failed to earn a single point in the mountains classification, kept hold of his polka dot jersey as the overall leader in that competition though saw his advantage reduced after Van Aert climbed to second, having taken a whopping 40 points at the summit of the hors catégorie the second ascent of Mont Ventoux.
Based on the assumption that Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-Quick Step) finishes the stage within the time limit, he will keep his green jersey as a leader in the points classification, a competition in which there were very few changes today. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) leapfrogged Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) to third. At the same time, Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) did the same to Nacer Bouhanni (Arkéa-Samsic) to move up to fifth after scooping up 20 points at the intermediate sprint.
Pogacar kep hold of his white jersey as best young rider, obviously.
2.5km to go
Swooping towards the line in Malaucène, Wout van Aert is just minutes away from winning this stage. The Belgian is flying and has already afforded himself a celebratory fist pump for the television cameras.
7.5km to go
Wout van Aert still leads and is followed by Bauke Mollema and Kenny Elissonde, then Jonas Vingegaard is in no man’s land. Tadej Pogacar, Richard Carapaz, and Rigoberto Urán follow the flying Dane by around 15sec.
13,5km to go
Slouched over his handlebars as aerodynamic as possible, stage leader Wout van Aert cuts through the air as he speeds towards the finishing line. The Belgian will, indeed, be winning this stage today, providing he stays upright. The big question, though, is: has this brief lapse from Tadej Pogacar shown that the general classification race is not actually over?
16.5km to go
Richard Carapaz and Rigoberto Urán bridge over to Tadej Pogacar as the trio hit the fast descent off Mont Ventoux for the second and final time today. Wout van Aert leads the stage by a shade over two minutes.
20km to go
Richard Carapaz and Rigoberto Urán are chasing down Tadej Pogacar as they near the summit of Mont Ventoux over which Wout van Aert has already gone. With Jonas Vingegaard currently fourth on the road – trailing Bauke Mollema and Kenny Elissonde – the possibility of a Jumbo-Visma one-two today is not entirely out of the question.
22,5km to go
This is not a drill! Jonas Vingegaard drops Tadej Pogacar on Mont Ventoux. The maillot Jaune cannot hold the wheel of the Jumbo-Visma youngster. Does this mean the defending champion is tiring? Did all that work from Ineos Grenadiers have the desired effect?
23km to go
Jonas Vingegaard attacks the young Dane, diving down the inside of Richard Carapaz, and only Tadej Pogacar can follow.
23.3km to go
Michal Kwiatkowski rides to a standstill having buried himself, followed by Richard Carapaz, then Tadej Pogacar, Jonas Vingegaard, Rigoberto Urán.
24km to go
Wout van Aert is just under 2.5km from the summit of Mont Ventoux, and his advantage on the Trek-Segafredo pair has not budged: 1min 20sec. Tadej Pogacar and the rest of the general classification riders have gained a little on him. Pogacar, by the way, is looking relaxed as if out on a Sunday club run.
25km to go
Wout van Aert goes beneath the 25km to go banner. Back in the maillot jaune’s group Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) is dropped, and Michal Kwiatkowski is putting in a significant shift on the front, his Ineos Grenadiers teammate Richard Carapaz glued to his wheel.
25.3km to go
Bauke Mollema bridges over to Kenny Elissonde, the Trek-Segafredo pair now trail stage leader Wout van Aert by 1min 19sec.
26km to go | Cavendish latest
Mark Cavendish trails stage leader Wout van Aert by 27min 19sec.
27km to go
A fan reaches out to pat the stage leader on the back as he flies by. No reaction from the stone-faced killer that is Wout van Aert is 100 percent focused on landing this stage which may – may – just save his Jumbo-Visma team’s Tour after having already lost three of its riders: Robert Gesink, Primoz Roglic, and Tony Martin.
28km to go | 6.2km to the summit
Wout van Aert is looking supreme here today. A day after going shoulder-to-shoulder with Mark Cavendish in a bunch sprint finish, the Belgian national champion is on course to win a famous stage at the Tour de France – the first time the old race has ascended Mont Ventoux not once, but twice.
30km to go, 8km to the summit
The maillot jaune’s group is splintering further, but Wout van Aert shows no sign of tiring. Kenny Elissonde trails the Belgian by 41sec, Bauke Mollema is at 1min 10sec while Julian Alaphilippe is over three minutes down the road.
The riders in that group with race leader Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) and his teammate Rafal Majka includes fellow general classification riders Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma), Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers), Michal Kwiatkowski (Ineos Grenadiers), Michael Woods (ISN), Enric Mas (Movistar), Wilco Kelderman (Bora-Hansgrohe), Guillaume Martin (Cofidis), Rigoberto Urán (EF Education-Nippo), Alexey Lutsenko (Astana-PremierTech).
31km to go
Ben O’Connor (Ag2r-Citroën), who started today second on general classification, drops out of the maillot jaune’s group.
33.5km to go | Alaphilippe is dropped
Oooh, la la. The world champion is paying for the work he did earlier today, and he has been dropped by Bauke Mollema. Almost immediately up the road, Wout van Aert clips off, dropping Kenny Elissonde. The Frenchman is unable to respond.
Back in the peloton, Tadej Pogacar has just one teammate, Rafal Majka, for the company as the pace being set by Ineos Grenadiers appeared to pay off. We have seen that the maillot Jaune does not always need his teammates in the mountains, but he may require one if he were to have a mechanical issue. Or, you know, show that he may be human.
34.5km to go
Bauke Mollema attacks, dropping the world champion, but Julian Alaphilippe, like a wounded beast, bites back and chases down the Dutchman.
35km to go
Wout van Aert rides off the front, and the talented all-rounder manages to drop Julian Alaphilippe and Bauke Mollema. Within a kilometer or so, the Belgian national champion bridges over to Kenny Elissonde and looks focused. His eyes seemingly look up the road towards the summit as he hauls himself up this brutal climb on an invisible pulley. Big surprise to see Alaphilippe and Mollema drop like that.
37km to go
The leading group splits with just Julian Alaphilippe, Wout van Aert and Bauke Mollema, able to cope on the steep gradient in the early part of this climb up Mont Ventoux. The trio trails Kenny Elissonde by 19sec. Meanwhile, further back, Ineos Grenadiers have five riders on the front of the peloton, and Tadej Pogacar is sat behind, just to the right of them, with a couple of teammates.
Kenny Elissonde, the French climber who weighs in at just 52kg, rolls off the front of the breakaway group, and nobody responds at first. Is he going for glory or attempting to shake this group up a little?
37.5km to go
Julien Bernard and the pint-sized Kenny Elissonde set a fierce pace on the front of the breakaway, presumably riding for teammate Bauke Mollema as they hit the bottom of Mont Ventoux. Julian Alaphilippe rides in the wheels, but is the world champion telling his team car he has diamonds in the legs today?
40km to go | Cavendish latest
Mark Cavendish is around 19 minutes down on teammate Julian Alaphilippe. Until the stage is over, we don’t know what the time cut will be, but he has navigated his way over Mont Ventoux and down the other side in one piece. He is definitely still in the game and, we think, on schedule to stay in the race.
43km to go
The stage leaders are now around 5km from the actual start of the second ascent of Mont Ventoux. It really is a brute of a climb that regularly nudges gradients of about 9-10%.
One of the finest descenders in the business, a certain Julian Alaphilippe, has been tanking it downhill today. But can he hold onto his lead at the front and challenge for a second stage win at this year’s Tour and a fifth for Deceuninck-Quick Step?
On the road . . .
72km to go
Over the top of Mont Ventoux and Julian Alaphilippe et al. are on to the descent. There is some light cloud at the very top of Mont Ventoux, but it doesn’t look like it is too cold – the vast gatherings of roadside spectators are dressed in shorts – and the downhill road looks to be in good condition.
76.1km to go
Julian Alaphilippe crests Mont Ventoux to add 10 points to his tally in the mountains classification. The world champion has earned 18 mountains points today, moving him to sixth in the virtual standings.
76.5km to go
Bauke Mollema bridges over to the leading group, ensuring that Trek-Segafredo now has three riders of eight at the head of the race, the others, of course, being Julien Bernard and Kenny Elissonde.
76km to go
David Gaudu has one Groupama-FDJ teammate Bruno Armirail for the company, and the Breton looks to be suffering. His team has had yet another disappointing Tour this year, and this is not what they need.
78km to go
Julian Alaphilippe, a fearless descender rider, is bobbing around near the front of the leading group. Sat beside the world champion are Wout van Aert, a handful of talented climbers … and Luke Durbridge, who usually favors the cobbled classics. One assumes he will not be in the leading group on the second ascent.
81.5km to go
Dan Martin is dropped by the second group on the road as the riders reach Chalet Reynard on this first ascent of Mont Ventoux. However, Julian Alaphilippe, Wout van Aert, Julien Bernard, Luke Durbridge, Kenny Elissonde, Xandro Meurisse, and Anthony Perez are at the pointy end of the stage edging up towards the moonlike summit of this behemoth of a climb. Once over the meeting, there will be a swift descent down towards Bédoin before the riders tackle the Giant of Provence for a second time. Similar to when Eros Polis won this stage in 1994, the finish is not on the summit but at the bottom of the climb following a second fast and stressful descent.
84km to go
Ineos Grenadiers, led by Geraint Thomas, is lined out information on the front of the maillot jaune’s group. Are Ineos Grenadiers plotting an assault of Tadej Pogacar here today? It looks like they may be, and, let’s face it, they have to try something if their man Richard Carapaz has told the team management he has the legs. Mark Cavendish is down the road over 12min back in the grupetto.
85.5km to go
An injection in pace from Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) caused a split in the leading group. Still, Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Julien Bernard (Trek-Segafredo), Luke Durbridge (BikeExchange), Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo), Xandro Meurisse (Alpecin-Fenix) and Anthony Perez (Cofidis) are holding on with the world champion. That septet of riders quickly gained over half a minute on Dan Martin et al. and are just under 10km from the summit of Mont Ventoux.
90km to go
Nairo Quintana is laboring; the Colombian targeting the mountains classification at this year’s Tour has drifted out the back of the peloton. In contrast, his Arkéa Samsic teammate Dan McLay has just been abandoned. Moments after the Briton was abandoned, Tiesj Benoot (DSM) also got off his bike. David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) is also struggling, and the young Frenchman is over 15km from the summit of the first ascent of Mont Ventoux. Though long at 22.1km, it is worth saying that this is the more accessible side of this famous old climb; the second drag up from the small town of Bédoin is very hard. It is tough indeed, cruel even.
The leading group in total. . .
Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Greg Van Avermaet (Ag2r-Citroën), Julien Bernard (Trek-Segafredo), Luke Durbridge (BikeExchange), Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo), Dan Martin (ISN), Xandro Meurisse (Alpecin-Fenix), Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), Quentin Pacher (B&B Hotels p/b KTM), Anthony Perez (Cofidis), Pierre-Luc Perichon (Cofidis), Nils Politt (Bora-Hansgrohe), Pierre Rolland (B&B Hotels p/b KTM), Kristian Sbaragli (Alpecin-Fenix) and Vegard Stake Laengen (UAE Team Emirates). This 16-man group lead by a shade over five minutes while Mark Cavendish trails by over nine minutes, the British sprinter nestled in the grupetto with Deceuninck-Quick Step team-mates Davide Ballerini, Tim Declercq, Dries Devenyns and Michael Morkov and a few other sprinters.
98.5km to go
Julian Alaphilippe, Dan Martin et al. have been joined by the group containing Wout van Aert, meaning a 16-man group now leads the stage. The maillot jaune is at 5min 19sec and Ineos Grenadiers, while Mark Cavendish is at 7min 41sec in the grupetto.
100km to go
The leading quartet is not too far from the start of the first ascent of Mont Ventoux now, and their advantage has dropped to just a handful of seconds as the riders fly through the lavender fields typical to the Provence region they are in today.
103km to go
Having had a disappointing Tour thus far, Dan Martin (ISN) managed to get into today’s breakaway, and the Irishman is looking lively. A few minutes ago, Martin clipped off the front of the quartet of stage leaders to roll over the summit of the Col de la Liguière and add 10 points to his total in the mountains classification.
As it stands . . .
Afternoon all. We join today’s with 115km of the stage remaining and the first three categorized climbs – côte de Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, côte de Gordes, col de la Liguière – having been navigated. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) wasted little time making it a lively start to the day, the world champion clipping off the front with Nairo Quintana (Arkéa Samsic) around 20km into the stage.
Surprisingly, Quintana did not stay out in front for too long. At the same time, Alaphilippe took mountains points atop the category four côtes de Fontaine-de-Vaucluse and Gordes before rolling over the intermediate sprint in the first spot. Of those chasing the issues in the race for the green jersey, only Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), Sonny Colbrelli, and Michael Matthews added to their respective tallies with three, two, and one point each.
Two riders have abandoned. Tony Martin (Jumbo-Visma) was the first to go after the German went off-road and into a ditch before leaving the race by ambulance. Not long afterward, Clément Russo (Arkéa-Samsic) quit, while a few minutes ago Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto-Soudal) and Miles Scotson (Groupama-FDJ) called it a day.
Geraint Thomas, by the way, has been riding on the front of the peloton. However, nobody really understands why – it appears Ineos Grenadiers are simply giving Tadej Pogacar a free ride as they near Mont Ventoux.
Hello and welcome to our live rolling blog from stage 11 at the Tour de France, the 198.9-kilometer run from Sorgues to Malaucène.
Another day, another stage closer to Paris for riders targeting the general classification, the mountains classification, and, of course, a certain Manxman who may not only equal Eddy Merckx’s record of 34 stage wins at the Tour this year but possibly also break it. But one step at a time for any fans of Mark Cavendish out there because today will be a massive test for the Deceuninck-Quick Step sprinter.
With two ascents of Mont Ventoux in a stage that includes 4,647 meters in vertical elevation, this is a day that will strike fear into any rider that struggles in the high mountains. Before we have a closer look at this mouthwatering stage, though, let’s remind ourselves who is wearing what as a respective leader in each of the four main classifications – in other words, those that have jerseys.
There were no changes of note in the general classification following Tuesday’s stage. So Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates), who took the race lead last Saturday, will again be wearing the Maillot Jaune, the leader’s yellow jersey. The defending champion leads Ben O’Connor (Ag2r-Citroën) by 2min 18sec, while Rigoberto Urán (EF Education-Nippo) is third but is over three minutes further back.
Having added another 50 points to his account by winning his third stage at this year’s Tour, Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-Quick Step) tightened his grip on the maillot vert, the green jersey. Michael Matthews (BikeExchange) and Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) took 13 and 15 respectively at Tuesday’s intermediate sprint and may, one suspects, add to their tallies just beyond the 40km mark today.
Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic), who won the mountains classification on his Tour debut in 2013, took control of that particular competition on Sunday and will be dressed in the maillot à pois again or polka dot jersey, as overall leader. Michael Woods (ISN) and Wout Poels (Bahrain Victorious) are breathing down Quintana’s neck going into today’s massive test in the mountains.
Just like the general and mountains classifications, there were no changes in the best young rider competition. As the overall leader of the race, Pogacar also tops this classification. However, Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) will wear the Slovenian’s maillot blanc, the white jersey, as the second best-paced rider, while David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) is third. However, the trails Pogacar by 7min 22sec.
And for anybody that missed Deceuninck-Quick Step’s textbook lead-out on Tuesday, you can relive the highlights right here . . .
Featuring five categorised climbs – côte de Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, côte de Gordes, col de la Liguière and two ascents of Mont Ventoux – stage 11 of the Tour is, in summary, a beast. Whether or not it is a day for the breakaway riders or those targeting the general classification remains to be seen, but it is sure to throw up plenty of drama.
The developing storyline involving British sprinter Cavendish adds another dimension to this stage, and so we will, as best we can keep you up to speed with his progress. For Cavendish to continue tomorrow, where the scene is expected to end in a sprint, he must first finish today and do so within the time limit.
The time cut is calculated by taking the winning time for the stage and adding a pre-determined percentage depending on the average speed for the day. Those percentages, however, vary depending on the difficulty of the background. Today has been classed as ‘very difficult and so, for those that care about these things, here are the numbers you will need to calculate the time Cavendish and the others in the grupetto will be given to cross the line in Malaucène.
Here’s a look at the all-important numbers from those climbs and a breakdown of what points can be won in the mountains. But what about those who only have eyes for the green jersey?