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Tour de France

Wout van Aert: ‘No Tour de France victory is easy’

In the five stages Van Aert has contested, he has won two and finished second in the other three.

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (VN) – Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) pushed back at a question that Saturday’s sprint victory in stage 8 at the Tour de France looked too easy.

Van Aert finished off top work from his teammates to surge past Michael Matthews (BikeExchange-Jayco) and fend off Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) to win his second stage during the 2022 Tour.

But the Belgian star bristled when it was suggested the win was easy.

“It’s never easy to win a bike race and it’s never easy to win a stage in the Tour de France and it will never be easy,” Van Aert said. “I never even like to pick a stage that feels easier or whatever. I felt really on the limit on the last climb and was really focused on the last 300m where it should flatten. It was really a fight on the wheel with a lot of climbers.”

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Van Aert’s incredible run across the first week of the Tour hit a crescendo Saturday into Lausanne.

A breakaway was reeled in to set up a reduced bunch sprint between the elite of the peloton. Matthews and Pogačar were determined to not make it easy on anyone.

Van Aert said his victory will bring a bit of consolation to Jumbo-Visma following a heavy crash involving Primož Roglič on the cobbles and a near-miss for Jonas Vingegaard on Friday at Super Belles Filles.

“I believe it brings a good vibe,” he said. “I think all the guys in every team but especially in our team like to race for the win, race with a plan, committed to give their all 100 percent.

“I’ve done four Tours de France now and have always been able to take a stage win. It’s always brought some confidence and a nice atmosphere. I believe we’re trying to do this again now.”

Van Aert continues amazing statistical run

Van Aert tightened his grip on the green jersey as well. (Photo: ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP via Getty Images)

Van Aert’s tremendous track record in this Tour continues. In the five stages he has contested, he has won two and finished second in the other three. He sacrificed his chances on the cobbles to help limit the losses to the attacking Pogačar.

“That’s five stages where I won two out of five. It’s crazy stats in the Tour de France,” he said.

Van Aert also tightened his grip on green, widening his lead to 115 points over Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) as the Tour hits the end of its first week.

“Definitely today it was in our mind to grab a load of points in the points classification. I think I have a large margin now, hopefully now I can grab points here and there and watch my competitors,” he said. “That’s a bit the plan.”

Van Aert and Jumbo-Visma now change gears as the Tour dips into the Alps on Sunday. With three more climbing stages stacked up next week in the Alps, Van Aert will be on worker duty.