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Tour de France

Wout van Aert lets one slip away in Tour de France stage 3 sprint

No celebrating second this time for Jumbo-Visma star: 'It's the first big disappointment.'

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SONDERBERG, Denmark (VN) — Wout van Aert finished second for the third day in a row, but this time he wasn’t celebrating at the line in Sunday’s third stage at the Tour de France.

Back-to-back second places put him in yellow on Saturday, but Dylan Groenewegen (BikeExchange-Jayco) stabbed his bike in a perfect throw to deny Van Aert the win.

“I have finished second now three times in a row, but this one was one I had in my own hands. It’s the first big disappointment,” Van Aert said. “The past two days I got beaten by stronger riders. Dylan was strong today, but I think I pulled too soon off the wheel of Christophe [LaPorte]. I was too early in the wind.”

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After finishing second in the opening time trial and again Saturday, losing to Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl), Van Aert avoided a late-race crash to arrive in the pole position for the final sprint.

Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) and Jakobsen were out of position, leaving Van Aert with an open road to the line.

“We came in well-positioned for the final,” he said. “I am now three times second, and each time I getting closer.”

Peter Sagan (TotalEnergies) pointed angrily at Van Aert, but he shrugged off the concerns.

“No, I saw him come past me, and I saw him trying to say something, but I could not understand him with all the noise, I was not sure that he was complaining about,” Van Aert said. “I don’t know how far he ended up or what happened there.”

Heading back to France after three days in Denmark

Van Aert will carry the yellow jersey back to France in the Tour’s first rest day Monday.

Van Aert said he was surprised he did so well in the opening stages in Denmark, so he’s relishing the even more demanding stages looming in the coming days in France.

“What’s coming will be really demanding, every stage has some tricky parts, like the cobbles,” he said. “It’s in my favor when the stages are a bit harder. I am looking forward to this.

“We are looking forward to combining our two ambitions of green and yellow,” Van Aert said. “We are in a good place for green and for the GC. We stayed out of trouble in Denmark, and Jonas and Primož are looking strong.”

So far, it’s been mission accomplished in Denmark. Van Aert just wants a win to complete the narrative.