Wout van Aert attacks on Mont Ventoux to win stage 11

The Belgian champion rode attacked his breakaway companions with 33km to go on the second ascent of the Giant of Provence

Wout van Aert attacks on Mont Ventoux to win stage 11

Raucous crowds cheered Wout van Aert to a frantic stage 11 win on the Tour de France on Wednesday after a double ascent of Mont Ventoux.

UAE Emirates leader Tadej Pogacar retained the overall lead by more than five minutes over his pursuers after a long, dare-devil descent to the finish line with EF Education Nippo's Colombian Rigoberto Uran and Ineos Grenadiers' Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz.

Jumbo-Visma's Van Aert crossed the summit of 'the Giant of Provence' alone in his Belgian champion's shirt on a baking day, and was greeted after his expert descent by a partisan pack at the finish line.

"There's loads of Belgians here," said an exultant Van Aert, who played to the crowds bending his ear to their acclamation.

On this iconic climb, where Tom Simpson died in 1967 and where Eddy Merckx, Marco Pantani and Chris Froome climbed to memorable wins, Van Aert's effort was magnificent, and he rode with a free spirit now his team leader Primoz Roglic is out injured.

"It's my best victory ever," said Van Aert, who finally reaped his reward, after his attacking riding helped light the Tour fuse on the opening stages.

Behind him his teammate Jonas Vingegaard climbed into the top three, crossing the line in the small group that included Pogacar, 1min 38sec after Van Aert.

Pogacar leads Uran of EF Education-Nippo by 5min 18sec, Dane Vingegaard is third 14 seconds further back and a second ahead of Carapaz, while Australian Ben O'Connor is fifth.

Colombian Nairo Quintana kept the polka-dot climber's points jersey while Mark Cavendish came home seven minutes inside the time cut to hold on to the green sprinter's jersey.

'ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE'

Vingegaard dropped Pogacar after a struggle over the final 3km of the last ascent, only for the Slovenian's group to catch up on the 25km descent.

"I couldn't follow him, the heat, Ineos, there was a lot going on," said a cool and relaxed looking Pogacar at the finish line where he immediately went to see the stage winner.

"We had some nice words for each other, I just wanted to say 'great ride mate'," said Pogacar.

With a vehicle ban on Ventoux, police searched the vast crowds ascending on foot for alcohol and handed out bin bags after 40 tonnes of rubbish were left behind last time the Tour climbed the mountain

The peloton pulled out of pretty Provence town of Sorgues to the summer sound of chirruping cicadas with the mercury rising to over 30 celsius and the multicoloured peloton shimmering in the southern French sunshine.

By the time the lead group emerged above the clouds on bleak Ventoux the peloton was scattered all the way down the 21km one-hour climb. The leaders cut stark figures as they struggled for dominance across the lunar landscape.

Pogacar resisted concerted pressure from Ineos to lead an elite quartet across the line, but only after a wobble on the upper reaches of the second Ventoux slog.

After his dash to the finish, Van Aert celebrated with sheer joy, his arms raised straight up in the air and standing high on his pedals.

"If you believe in it, anything is possible. Now I'll be helping Jonas in the overall and hopefully trying to win more stages," said Van Aert, who has promised to go shoulder-to-shoulder with Cavendish.

Thursday's stage 12 is a flat run to Nimes, where Cavendish will equal Merckx's all-time Tour de France stage win tally of 34 if he claims a fourth victory on the 2021 edition of the world's greatest bike race.

VIDEO: 2021 Tour de France Stage 11 Stage Highlights

2021 Tour de France Stage 11 Top 10

1 Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma 05:17:43
2 Kenny Elissonde (Fra) Trek-Segafredo 00:01:14
3 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 00:01:14
4 Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 00:01:38
5 Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education-Nippo 00:01:38
6 Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers 00:01:38
7 Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma 00:01:38
8 Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech 00:01:56
9 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:01:56
10 Enric Mas (Spa) Movistar 0:03:02

2021 Tour de France  GC after Stage 11

1 Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 19:44:38
2 Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education-Nippo 0:05:18
3 Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma 0:05:32
4 Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers 0:05:33
5 Ben O'Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën Team 0:05:58
6 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:06:16
7 Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech 0:06:30
8 Enric Mas (Spa) Movistar Team 0:07:11
9 Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis 0:09:29
10 Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain Victorious 0:10:28

 
Tag: tourdefrance
 
Jul 18 2021 - NEWS: Pogacar wins second consecutive Tour de France title
Jul 17 2021 - NEWS: Pogacar seals straight second Tour de France Victory
Jul 16 2021 - NEWS: Bahrain Victorious jubilant as Mohoric wins his 2nd Tour Stage
Jul 15 2021 - NEWS: Pogacar wins in Mountains again to dominate the Tour
Jul 15 2021 - NEWS: French Police launch nighttime raid on Bahrain Victorious Hotel at the Tour de France
Jul 14 2021 - NEWS: Pogacar wins again atop giant Tour de France mountain Col du Portet
Jul 13 2021 - NEWS: Konrad wins hilly stage 16 as Pogacar retains the yellow jersey
Jul 11 2021 - NEWS: American Sepp Kuss wins Stage 15 of the Tour de France in Andorra
Jul 11 2021 - NEWS: Bauke Mollema delivers stage win at the Tour de France for Trek-Segafredo
Jul 10 2021 - NEWS: Mollema wins Tour de France stage at the foot-hills of the Pyrenees
Jul 08 2021 - NEWS: Nils Politt puts in late attack from the breakaway to Tour de France Stage 12
Jul 07 2021 - NEWS: Wout van Aert attacks on Mont Ventoux to win stage 11
Jul 06 2021 - NEWS: Hat Trick for Mark Cavendish who only needs two more Stage wins
Jul 04 2021 - NEWS: Ben O'Connor solos to Mountain Top Victory as Pogacar retains Yellow
Jul 03 2021 - NEWS: Pogacar storms into yellow jersey by crushing most of his rivals
Jun 26 2021 - EVENT: 2021 Tour De France