Jasper Philipsen sprints to fourth stage victory at this year’s Tour de France
Jasper Philipsen’s outstanding Tour de France continued on Wednesday as he sprinted to his fourth stage victory on stage 11 in Moulins.
For once Philipsen did not have the best lead-out at the end of a flat stage, but he coolly slotted in behind Dylan Groenewegen and came past the Dutchman in the final 100 metres to extend his sizeable advantage in the points classification.
The sprint finish to the 180km stage from from Clermont-Ferrand meant no change in the fight for the yellow jersey, in which Jonas Vingegaard leads by 17 seconds from Tadej Pogacar.
Philipsen had profited from the huge talents of Alpecin-Deceuninck team-mate Mathieu van der Poel in the previous three flat bunch sprints, but, with his fellow Belgian not a factor in the finale of this one, Philipsen instead surfed the wheels to continue his dominance.
Groenewegen opened up his effort early but had to settle for second as Philipsen came by, with Phil Bauhaus in third a day after his Bahrain-Victorious team-mate Pello Bilbao won stage 10 from a breakaway.
Philipsen has now won all four of the flat bunch sprints in this Tour, having been second to Mads Pedersen on the more challenging uphill sprint into Limoges on stage eight.
“It’s an incredible Tour so far,” said Philipsen. “I can’t realise how good it’s all going, I’m just super proud, really happy with my shape. To get through the final without problems is also a big challenge and we managed to do it already four times in a row so I’m super happy.
“So I can also win without (Mathieu)! But of course he makes it more easy. I had to find my wheel a little but, also finding the space it’s technical and a bit dangerous for crashing. I’m happy I can find a good wheel of Groenewegen and he opened up early so I could go over.
“There are maybe more sprint opportunities, but also there will be guys going for the break, but I’m already so happy to take four and hopefully looking towards Paris I can keep this jersey. I think I made a good gap now (in the points classification) which gives me comfort going into the Alps.”
There was a seven-second gap between the first 17 riders over the line and a second group that included Vingegaard, but with Pogacar in close attendance the gaps at the top of the general classification remained the same.
Jai Hindley remains third, two minutes and 40 seconds down, with Carlos Rodriguez more than four minutes down in fourth. Adam Yates, Simon Yates and Tom Pidcock remain sixth, seventh, and eighth respectively.
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