Jasper Philipsen pulled on the sprint just before the finish of stage four of the Tour de France. The Belgian took the lead and left his rivals behind. As he crossed the finish line, Philipsen cheered exuberantly and pounded his fists on his chest, feeling sure victory.
But there was a catch: Philipsen was only second. The professional cyclist from Team Alpecin hadn’t noticed that his compatriot Wout van Aert had rushed ahead of the field and crossed the finish line eight seconds ahead of Philipsen as the stage winner.
“We were too far behind and couldn’t see that van Aert was still in front. On top of that, the radio connection was pretty bad,” Philipsen tried to explain his mistake: “I thought we were fighting for victory.” Only after crossing the finish line did he see that van Aert in the yellow jersey was already being celebrated: “For five seconds I thought I won So of course it’s a bit embarrassing.”
Showing a sense of humor, Philipsen tweeted a photo of his jubilant finish after the stage, over which he wrote: “Wout van Aert, as you can see I’m really happy with second place.”
With the success of stage four, van Aert extended his lead in the overall Tour de France standings to 25 seconds. “I was fed up with bunch sprints. I didn’t want to take the risk anymore,” joked van Aert after three second places, two of them in sprints. On the Cote du Cap Blanc-Nez, his team Jumbo-Visma turned the stage into a team time trial and used this tactic to dissect the entire field.
“I heard over the radio that we’ve done damage. So it was full throttle to the crest. After that it was still ten kilometers of suffering,” said the Belgian about his successful breakaway attempt, which Philipsen didn’t notice.