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CHAINTRÉ, France (VN) — You don’t need a photo finish or even to watch the race on TV to know how Wout van Aert finished. Just listen for his scream.
On Wednesday’s finish line at the Critérium du Dauphiné, after he just missed beating time trial arch-rival Filippo Ganna by two seconds, he released a string of unprintable expletives.
On Thursday, there were whoops of joy and delight as Jumbo-Visma caught the day’s breakaway near the line and fended off Bora-Hansgrohe’s Jordi Meeus.
“Yeeeeaah! Yeah!” Van Aert screamed at the line in stage 5 at the Critérium du Dauphiné.
Van Aert is proving unstoppable so far during this key warmup race for the Tour de France.
The Belgian star is two for five in the opening five stages at the Dauphiné, and could have been five for five if it wasn’t for a few seconds here and a mistimed celebration there.
“I wouldn’t say that winning all five stages wasn’t a possibility,” Van Aert said. “Every day is a possibility. On the other hand, if I had won the second stage or the uphill finish, my mentality might not have been the same.
“It’s too easy to look back to say I could have won everything,” he said. “This is the highest level of racing here. It’s not that easy. Every thing needs to be on-point.”
- Jumbo-Visma still has room to improve
- Ganna bosses Dauphiné TT, Van Aert consolidates GC lead
- Jumbo-Visma not guaranteeing support slots in Tour selection
The Van Aert Dauphiné Express started when he won Sunday’s opener in dominant fashion.
He missed out on a second win in stage 2 when the bunch misjudged the chase on the day’s breakaway. The very next day, Van Aert celebrated too soon, and got pipped by David Gaudu on the line in an uphill finale. On Wednesday, Ganna nipped him by two seconds against the clock.
Van Aert got revenge Thursday in a thriller that went down to the wire, with Christophe Laporte giving him a perfect leadout after catching the day’s breakaway within a whisper of the line.
“I can only thank Christophe for a super strong leadout. The speed was so high it was hard to catch back a bike length,” Van Aert. “My sprint was super today, but it was also from the work of the whole team that I could win.”
Wout van Aert and his amazing statistics from 2022
Van Aert’s amazing run in 2022 continues this week at the Critérium du Dauphiné.
Through 19 days of racing, he’s finished in the top-3 on 14 occasions.
That includes five victories so far this year and podiums at Paris-Roubaix and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
Wout van Aert has finished in the top 3 of 79% of the races he has started this season, ALL of them WorldTour.
Had to delete the last tweet as I’d included today in his race days (19), but not in his top 3s (15). the stat is even more impressive now. #Dauphiné
— Daniel Lloyd (@daniellloyd1) June 9, 2022
“I am not racing that much, so that is why I have stats like that,” he said. “It’s not something that will work like that for too much longer. In a few days and during the Tour de France for sure.
“I am just the person that after I am training at altitude for three weeks, I want to take every chance possible,” Van Aert continued. “The team also doesn’t want me to race too much because they want me to be too fast too soon, and not be in shape when it is really necessary.
“I always give 100 percent for the win,” he said. “That’s just my mentality.”
Van Aert insists he will not be racing to win the Dauphiné as it turns into the Alps later this weekend.
“I am focusing now on my sprint and my time trial, and if I changed my training to climb better, I would lose in other areas,” Van Aert said. “We’ll be racing for Primož and Jonas this weekend.”