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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, July 8, 2021

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2020 Tour de France | 2021 Giro d'Italia

The audiobook version of The Story of the Tour de France, Volume 1 is available.

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Tour de France stage eleven reports

We posted the race organizer's report with the results.

Here's the report from stage winner Wout van Aert's Jumbo-Visma team:

Wout van Aert has won the eleventh stage of the Tour de France in an impressive way. The Belgian of Team Jumbo-Visma was the strongest in the difficult stage that went over the Mont Ventoux twice. After an impressive solo, Van Aert claimed the victory.

Wout van Aert

Wout van Aert finishes a stunning ride. Sirotti photo

The Belgian national champion went full steam ahead after his second place in yesterday’s bunch sprint. He tried, after many efforts in the beginning of the stage, to get to the front of the race. In the descent to the foot of the first climb of the Mont Ventoux he joined the leaders, and subsequently showed his rising form.

On the second ascent of the ‘Giant of the Provence’ Van Aert showed what he was worth. He dropped his breakaway companions and rode to the summit on power. In the descent he did not have to worry about his chasers anymore and a few kilometres from the finish he knew that the victory would be his. In the wake of Van Aert, Jonas Vingegaard also made a good impression. The young Dane moved up to third place in the general classification.

For Team Jumbo-Visma it is the twenty-first victory of the season. Earlier this season Van Aert won two stages in the Tirreno-Adriatico, the classics Gent-Wevelgem and Amstel Gold Race and the Belgian championship. This takes his victory tally to six this season. It is the fourth Tour stage Van Aert has won, after previously having won stages in 2019 and 2020.

“I am speechless”, Van Aert said after his one-man show. “I never dared to dream at the start of the Tour that I could win this stage. Yesterday I suddenly felt I wanted to go for the stage win today as well. I asked the team if I could fight myself in the breakaway of the day. This might be my best victory ever, because the Mont Ventoux is one of the most iconic climbs in cycling. I believed in it along the way and with faith anything is possible. The support was also overwhelming. It was an honour to ride up the Ventoux in the national jersey.”

Van Aert had a difficult preparation for the Tour. “It was difficult for me to start this Tour at my top level because of the operation on my appendicitis. And we had so much bad luck in the first week. With Primoz Roglic we lost our leader and with Robert Gesink our super-domestique. Today we have unfortunately also lost our experienced Tony Martin. Fortunately, everything fell into place in the final. It is a matter of keep going and being able to make the switch every time. This only motivates me more. I’m going to keep helping Jonas, just like the whole team. He is very strong.”

The stage started with a huge disappointment for the team of manager Richard Plugge. Tony Martin crashed hard and unfortunately had to abandon the race. After a medical check in hospital it was announced that the German did not suffer any broken bones. He was extensively stitched and bandaged for his wounds.

Race leader Tadej Pogacar's UAE Team Emirates posted this report:

Tadej Pogačar took home 4th place and defended his lead on the 11th stage of the Tour de France, on the 198.9 km from Sorgues to Malaucene which was marked by the double climb of Mont Ventoux.

The yellow jersey finished the stage at 1’38 “from the winner Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), the latter taking the win after a solo escape.

Tadej Pogacar

Tadej Pogacar near the summit of Mt. Ventoux. Sirotti photo

Pogačar, after losing the wheel of Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) on the second ascent , descended the 20 km towards the finish in the company of Richard Carapaz ( Ineos-Grenadiers) and Rigoberto Uran (Ef-Nippo), with the trio collaborating to catch the Dane.

In the overall standings, the UAE Team Emirates leader holds an advantage 5’18 “over Rigoberto Uran and with 5’32” over Jonas Vingegaard.

Pogačar: “The pace was very strong throughout the climb and when Vingegaard attacked in the final, I couldn’t keep up with him, as he was pushing hard .
I kept my composure, I knew that the summit was not far and I concentrated on keeping a decent rhythm and still having the energy in my legs to push downhill.

"We worked well with Uran and Carapaz and returned. I am not surprised by Vingegaard, because he has always proved to be one of the strongest climbers. Here at the Tour there are no easy days and also tomorrow we will probably have to deal with the wind ”.

The 12th stage will be a lumpy 159.4 km from Saint Paul Trois Chateaux to Nimes.

Here's the report from Richard Carapaz's Team INEOS Grenadiers:

Richard Carapaz moved up to fourth overall at the Tour de France following a day of heavy climbing on stage 11.

The Grenadiers committed to riding in a bid to set up the Ecuadorian for a possible stage win, with Carapaz among a select group of contenders to go clear over the final summit. After two ascents of the infamous Mont Ventoux, Carapaz finished the day alongside nearest rivals Rigoberto Uran and Jonas Vingegaard, as well as race leader Tadej Pogacar.

Sixth on the stage behind breakaway victor Wout Van Aert, Carapaz remains 5:33 off yellow, and now just a second off the overall podium.

Richard Carapaz

Richard Carapaz racing in the 2020 Vuelta a España.

The team worked hard throughout the day, with Luke Rowe and then Geraint Thomas taking it up for the team over the Col de la Liguiere. Dylan van Baarle and Jonathan Castroviejo set the pace on the first passage over Ventoux, aiming to keep the breakaway within reach. Tao Geoghegan Hart began the second ascent of the climb on the front, before Richie Porte and Michal Kwiatkowski swapped turns. The latter turned himself inside out near the summit of Ventoux, with Carapaz able to link up with his rivals on the descent to the finish.

Despite a gutsy ride, Luke Rowe sadly crossed the finish line outside the time limit and thus will not be able to start Thursday's stage.

Gabriel Rasch:
"Today we had to try. We had a plan this morning – we wanted to put some pressure on and we wanted to potentially go for the stage as well. It was hard to catch Van Aert, but in the end we managed to drop some of the GC guys. The team were amazing again and Carapaz was there at the end. It’s about staying stable and staying at a high level.

"We have to focus on our own race and get there step by step. Let’s see where we end up."

And here's the report from Wilco Kelderman's Bora-hansgrohe team:

Climbing the legendary Mont Ventoux once is an achievement in itself, but today the Tour de France would make history by climbing it twice on the race’s Queen Stage. The 198.9km parcours featured five categorised climbs, but the only ones the peloton would be concerned with were the two ascents of this famous mountain.

With no ‘easy’ way to climb the Ventoux, the route today would climb the easiest of the three routes to the summit, followed immediately by the hardest. The start to the day was understandably quiet as riders tried to decide if this was to be their time in the break, but with a fourth category climb to start, followed by the intermediate sprint, Peter Sagan tried his luck before being pulled back.

As on previous stages, when the climbs started to have an impact on the peloton, splits formed and it was here the lead group formed on the front and, after taking some points in the sprint, Peter dropped back to conserve his energy to get through the hard climbs to come. With a small breakaway group now leading the race, a second chase group made the jump, Nils Politt representing BORA-hansgrohe here, before joining up with the leaders.

A few kilometres later with 89km to go, the German rider went on the attack with seven others, their lead over the main bunch more than five minutes as they headed into the fog that shrouded the top of Mont Ventoux. By this time, the peloton was shrinking rapidly as riders dropped off the back, but Wilco Kelderman, Emanuel Buchmann and Patrick Konrad were riding calmly with the GC favourites and after reaching the summit, Nils dropped off the front to ride with his teammates in the main group.

Alexey Lutsenko and Wilco Kelderman

Alexey Lutsenko leads Wilco Kelderman up the final kilometers of Mt. Ventoux.

After a hair-raising descent, it was time to climb again and by now, nobody in the peloton was feeling fresh, but Wilco was keeping pace and following the Yellow Jersey towards the observatory at the summit for the second time. With less than a kilometre to the top, Wilco was dropped, however, the long descent to the finish in Malaucène gave the Dutch rider a chance to reduce the gap, only twenty seconds separating him and the race leader, with his other rivals well behind. Finishing in ninth, Wilco jumped a place in the overall standings, ending the race’s toughest stage in GC sixth. The rest of the team finished well within the time cut, ready to fight again on tomorrow’s stage.

From the Finish Line:
"Unlike the previous wet and cold stages, we had a hot day but we already knew it so I took a lot of drinks, kept hydrated, and felt good throughout the day. It was very tough to climb Mont Ventoux twice but I was well in the finale. When Vingegaard attacked I was on my limit and couldn't react, I just had to ride at my own pace. I'm happy with my performance, I could say it was a good day, although not extraordinary. The podium isn't far, we could possibly be in contention but we'll have to see on the next stages how everything goes. I'm focused on doing my job and riding well. If I finish fifth overall, I would still be satisfied. I'm happy with how I performed today and even if I might have the podium in my sights, if I don't achieve it because the rest are stronger, that's the way it is." – Wilco Kelderman

"I felt much better than in the Alps. I'm not yet at the level I expected to be here at the Tour, but I am on the right track now. I still need to recover a little bit but we'll see how it will be on the next mountain stages." – Emanuel Buchmann

"Our goal today was to support Wilco as much as possible while having in mind the option of sending Patrick or Nills to the front. That worked as Nils was in the breakaway while the rest of the squad worked for Wilco, always bringing him in a good position in the climbs. Wilco did a fantastic race and managed to edge up in the GC. We're satisfied, it was a good job by the entire team." – Enrico Poitschke, Sports Director

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