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Tour de France

Tom Pidcock: ‘Wout van Aert is playing with our balls’ in Tour de France

'I don’t know what to say. He’s taking the piss isn’t he,' Ineos rider says after the Belgian makes a long-range attack on stage 6.

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Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) sprinted to a well-deserved fourth place on stage 6 of the Tour de France, taking his best result yet on his race debut.

The British rider was part of an elite group that hit the final set of climbs in the last 20km and eventually finished behind stage winner and new race leader Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates).

The stage was the longest of the entire race, standing at 219.9km in length but that didn’t stop a frantic day of action with attacks from the start. Wave after wave of breaks formed, with Pidcock at one stage on the move.

Eventually the race settled down with yellow jersey Wout van Aert (Jumbo Visma) joined by Quinn Simmons (Trek-Segafredo), and Jakob Fulgsang (Israel-Premier Tech).

The Dane sat up long before the finish, while van Aert dropped Simmons in the last 30km. The Belgian, who has been on a different planet throughout this opening week of racing almost held off the entire peloton before eventually being caught inside the last 20km. He promptly sat up and relinquished his grip on the yellow jersey but it was another show of force from the Jumbo-Visma rider who has won a stage, and finished second three times in the race so far.

“He’s playing with our balls, isn’t he,” Pidcock said at the finish when asked for a reaction to van Aert’s dominance on virtually every terrain in the race so far.

“ I don’t know what to say. He’s taking the piss isn’t he.”

As for his own performance, Pidcock seemed relatively content with his fourth.

“My legs came good in the last 3k but after that start and trying to get in the breakaway I was thinking that there’s no way I could contest this final. I was feeling good there and then Roglič went a bit early and then caught everyone by surprise, then I had to stall and that killed my momentum. In the end I think that I did a good sprint but I think that Pogačar was the strongest.”