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Tour de France

Tour de France stage 20: Wout van Aert wins time trial as Jonas Vingegaard secures yellow jersey

Jonas Vingegaard finishes second to all but wrap up the overall victory ahead of Sunday's final stage in Paris.

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Wout van Aert surged into the “hot seat” Saturday and fended off some late challengers to win the individual time trial stage at the Tour de France in an emotional day for Jumbo-Visma.

World time trial champion Filippo Ganna set an early fast mark in Saturday’s individual time trial until Van Aert, his eternal TT rival, blazed to a new fast time.

Starting last, Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) powered to the fastest split at the first time check, with Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) at 8 seconds slower, but one second faster than Van Aert.

A near crash late in the stage saw Vingegaard ease up, and opened the door for Van Aert to win his third stage in this Tour.

“I’m emotional,” Van Aert said. “Winning this Tour de France with the team is very special, and today was like a dream scenario. Jonas is such a strong guy but he’s also a good guy. I want to thank the whole team for this special three weeks.”

Vingegaard was still fastest at the second time check, but Van Aert’s earlier effort withstood some of the challenges. Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) got faster as the race unfolded, and the three were divided by three seconds at the third and final time check.

Van Aert started fast and hot, and set the fastest time splits across all three time checks until the late-starting GC rivals went down the ramp.

Starting earlier in the afternoon, Ganna blazed the 40.7km course from Lacapelle-Marival to Rocamadour in 48 minutes, 41 seconds. He was the first rider to crack the 50kph barrier among the early starters in the 20th stage.

Van Aert stopped the clock at 42 seconds faster than Ganna is a crushing performance.

Van Aert was also won the Tour’s ‘super combative’ prize. (Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP) 

Matteo Cattaneo (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) was second behind Ganna at 44 seconds slower, with Mikkel Berg (UAE Team Emirates) at third-fastest among the early starters at 1:41 slower.

Those times were later eclipsed by the top GC riders, who all raced full-gas despite some expectations they would not take risks on the fast, technical course.

Van Aert’s earlier steady effort was good enough for another stage, the sixth for Jumbo-Visma in this Tour.

Finishing behind him were the virtual final podium, with Vingegaard, Pogačar and Thomas rounding out the top-4. Ganna was bumped to fifth on the stage.

“I gave it all today,” Van Aert said. “I want to win races, and today I had hoped to take the stage, and I hoped that Jonas could secure his yellow. He has such a big heart that he thought the same, so it’s special. It’s a great day.”

The time trial all but puts the yellow jersey on ice for Vingegaard, who actually widened his lead to Pogačar to 3:34. Sunday’s final stage on the Champs-Élysées typically ends in a bunch sprint, and he will carry a wide lead into the final stage.

Vingegaard poised to become the first Dane since 1996 to win the yellow jersey

Vingegaard widened his lead on the yellow jersey with one stage to go. (Photo: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Vingegaard, who surprised many last year to finish second overall, was rock solid from start to finish across the Tour. He admitted the infamous 2020 time trial meltdown was on his mind Saturday.

“I think what happened two years ago, we were all thinking about it,” he said of pre-race nerves. “We were not afraid of it, but we had it in our heads and we didn’t want it to happen again. We wanted to go for it today and have a good as result possible today.”

Late in the race, however, Vingegaard swept through a corner too fast and almost steered off the pavement. That close call seemed to take the fight out of his legs, and he paced in safely to wrap up what looks to be Denmark’s first Tour victory since 1996.

“I don’t read the media, so I don’t know how crazy it is at home. I am lost for words,” he said. “It’s a special day for us and for the whole team at Jumbo-Visma, and I want to give thanks to everyone to every rider and every staff members. It’s special.

“The whole team is incredible and it just shows how close everyone is on this team, and what a special thing we have on this team, and everyone is happy for each other,” he said. “I am happy that Wout won today, and these guys are really my friends.”

Behind them, David Gaudu defended his fourth place overall, while Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe) bounced up three spots to move into fifth overall. Nairo Quintana, Romain Bardet, and Louis Meintjes all were bumped down one spot each.

Results will be available once stage has completed.

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