Tour de France 2021: Stage 11 – Wout a day on Ventoux for van Aert

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. . . I give you the winner of Stage 11, Mr. Wout van Aert! On a day when the peloton tackled TWO ascents up the mystical Mont Ventoux, van Aert bested all breakaway companions to solo to an iconic stage win in Maulacène. After placing second in yesterday’s sprint stage behind the Manx Missile, today’s victory featured many of Wout’s classics: the Wout Pout , the Wout Vampire Stare, and the Wout Smile of Swooniness. The Little French Prince That Could, Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo) came home second, more than a minute behind the Belgian champion. In a surprising twist, the Johns of the world can further rejoice as Elissonde’s teammate, Bauke Mollema, managed to come to the line with him to finish third. 

In the everlasting saga for the yellow jersey, there was a minor moment of panic and excitement as Jumbo-Visma’s Jonas Vingegaard dropped Tadej Pogacar prior to the summit of the second ascent of Mont Ventoux. All efforts were for naught, however, as Pogacar, Rigoberto Uran, and Richard Carapaz caught the youngster before the line. The big loss of the day was for Ben O’Connor, who lost contact early on the second ascent of Ventoux and tumbled down the GC after beginning the day in second overall. His misfortune moves Uran up to 2nd overall and Vingegaard into 3rd while Pogacar retains yellow with a healthy lead of more than 5 minutes.


Wout a winner!

After fighting to get into the breakaway at the start of the day, Jumbo-Visma’s Wout van Aert ultimately succeeded and provided many of us with hope for greatness. As expected, the man in the tricolor did not disappoint as he delighted fans up and down the mountain!

Even as attacks from the likes of Julian Alaphilippe, Kenny Elissonde, and Bauke Mollema in the break, Wout kept his cool (and his zombie face).

With better climbers alongside him, it became more and more unclear if the Wout the Magnificent would be able to pull a win out of his mighty bag of tricks. Nevertheless, fans held out hope. . .

Eventually, the Fine-Faced Belgian broke free from all else and began his lone ascent up Ventoux, for the second time.

With more than four minutes on the GC favorites at the base of the climb and a healthy advantage of those that remained within reach from the breakaway, Wout was easily able to crest Ventoux and descend into town for a glorious stage victory without much difficulty. Just look at his little smiles!

Perhaps most of all, this victory goes a long way to saving Jumbo’s Tour de France after having a crashfest as a team during the first week and a half.

Another stage, another post-stage interview that warms the hearts of cyclist fans everywhere.

Wout a GC battle. . .  or not

Let’s be honest with one another. The GC fight today was just. . . weird. We had INEOS pulling the peloton all day (why?), we had Ben O’Connor tumble down the GC (not all that surprising, sorry #CouchPeloton), and we had Pogacar show his first sign of weakness (fat chance, really). There’s no real sense to make of any of it, so we might as well begin with INEOS, who made the least sense of all.

With their best-placed rider nearly 6 minutes behind the yellow jersey, which is held by a man whose team cannot control the race whatsoever, it is an absolute mindf*ck why Ineos decided to give UAE and Pogacar a free ride today. Some lovely Twitter commentators had their thoughts on the reasoning behind it:

The mystery still remained, however.

One Tweeter brought perhaps the best explanation of all, really.


Right then, now that we have Ineos settled, let’s move on to Ben O’Connor. Let’s be honest about Ben for a minute – he was never going to continue to fly high in the GC at this Tour. While he certainly didn’t win Stage 9 on a fluke, he got into the GC by one, and he was out of his depth. With that said, it is a bummer to see one of our Brown Shorts Boys struggle some vigorously. [Do we really want to call them that? – ed].

Full Disclosure: I didn’t know that Ben had only tumbled down to 5th overall until I went searching for an Ag2r tweet for this review. To my surprise, he’s still within 6 minutes of yellow and within 26 seconds of the podium. Good on you, Ben! Apologies for my True Professional lifestyle!

Pog v Vinge

Finally, let’s talk about Pogacar vs Vingegaard! There is a bit of speculation that Jonas Vingegaard was the first to break Tadej’s armour today based on this attack. . .

I am not here to say that Pogacar isn’t a wee bit tired (I know I would be) or that Vingegaard isn’t a proper contender in his own right, but I am here to say that I don’t think there’s much reason to be worrying about Pogacar.

Nevertheless, some great commentary was created out of the momentary panic.

Ultimately, however, all gaps were nullified and Pogacar remains as firm as. . . well, nevermind that.

Wout’s the time cut off?

For as much excitement and enjoyment as the sprinters have brought us during the flat stages, they have also brought a high level of nervousness and panic for fans. Each day in the mountains has been an “everything crossed” moment in hopes of keeping Mark Cavendish in the race and today was no different.

Luckily for my heart and soul, and I am sure those of many others, our boy Mark made it safely home with a bit of time to spare. I’ll be honest with you, I am no fan of QuickStep’s WolfPack mentality, but the way that the team has rallied behind Cavendish during this race – both in successes and struggles – has warmed my heart.

And what a ride by SKA to stay in the race by the slimmest of margins!!

Unfortunately, Luke Rowe failed to do the same. That’s what you get for riding the front all day, Ineos!

The last word


Stage 11 Top 5

1 Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) 5:17:43

2 Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo) +1:14

3 Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo)

4 Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) +1:38

5 Rigoberto Uran (EF Education-Nippo)

General Classification Top 10

1 Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 43:44:38

2 Rigoberto Uran (EF Education-Nippo) +5:18

3 Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) +5:32

4 Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) +5:33

5 Ben O’Connor (AG2R Citroën Team) +5:58

6 Wilco Kelderman (Bora-Hansgrohe) +6:16

7 Alexey Lutsenko (Astana-Premier Tech) +6:30

8 Enric Mas Nicolau (Movistar Team) +7:11

9 Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) +9:29

10 Pello Bilbao Lopez De Armentia (Bahrain Victorious) +10:28

All the Jerseys

Leaders jersey : Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates)

Points jersey: Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-Quick Step)

KOM jersey : Nairo Quintana (Arkea-Samsic)

Best young rider jersey : Tadej Pogacar (UAE Emirates)

For full stage review, go to cyclingnews

Official Tour de France website is here

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