In the high-speed final, Phil Bauhaus couldn’t close the gap, but the untouchable Jasper Philipsen triumphed in the sprint on the Nogaro race track. The Belgian also won stage four of the 110th Tour de France by a razor-thin margin ahead of Australian Caleb Ewan and Bauhaus. However, the 28-year-old from Bocholt had no chance of winning, but after second place the day before he got the maximum out of it again. There were three falls in the last few meters, all without serious consequences at first glance.

“It was a very easy stage, everyone wanted to save themselves for the Pyrenees. There were a few falls, I hope they are all ok. It was very hectic. I ended up having cramps,” said Philipsen. The 25-year-old – nicknamed Jasper Disaster – is in a class of his own in the fast finals and had already won on Monday.

Phil Bauhaus, meanwhile, settled into a camp chair after the race with a can of orange soda and accepted congratulations from his teammates after his second podium. They excitedly discussed the final of the fourth stage, which was overshadowed by several falls, in which Bauhaus once again delivered a brilliant result with third place. “I finished on the podium twice in the biggest cycling race in the world. I think I’ve proven that I’m one of the best,” said Bauhaus. “The competitors all know me. They know I’m not a novice. I’ve already beaten them all.” The 28-year-old had already raced to second place on Monday. Now he only needs one win to complete his personal podium. If Bauhaus continues to demonstrate such an outstanding tactical sense, the big coup is not impossible.

However, the Bocholter was missing a few meters for the irresistible Philipsen on Tuesday. “He won twice. I hope that at some point I’ll be the lucky one who can beat him,” said Bauhaus and, with a view to further sprints, added: “Now I have to get over the mountains first”. His driver Nikias Arndt is unreservedly optimistic on this point: “Phil is in the form of his life.”

Also in the queue is Mark Cavendish, who finished fifth. The superstar is on the hunt for his 35th stage win, which would see him surpass previous joint record holder Eddy Merckx. Cavendish will now have to wait until Friday when the sprinters have their next chance after the Pyrenees detour in Bordeaux.

As expected, there was no change at the top of the overall standings. Brit Adam Yates once again successfully defended the yellow jersey he had won in Bilbao. Right behind the UAE pro, six seconds behind, is his captain Tadej Pogacar, who is at the same time as Yates’ twin Simon. Emanuel Buchmann maintained his place in the top 20 on a day that was quiet for classification drivers.

Before the two days in the Pyrenees, it was clear that the sprinters didn’t want to miss the opportunity at the Circuit Paul Armagnac. “It’s my first time driving on a race track. I’ll be highly concentrated in the sprint,” said Bauhaus before the start. For the Bocholter it is his first Tour de France, his clear goal is a stage win. Two strong performances should give him the self-confidence that is so important for a sprinter, so that even a win can work out.

The expected outcome of the stage apparently discouraged the escapees. There were some hesitant attacks, but only after 100 kilometers did the Frenchmen Anthony Delaplace and Benoit Cosnefroy pull away. That escape ended with 25 kilometers to go when the sprinter teams took charge. In the final, the peloton drove about 2.5 kilometers of the 3.6-kilometer race track, several 180-degree corners made the sprint preparation tricky.

At the end, however, there was a 750-meter straight that only climbed minimally. The chase on the nine-meter-wide street was overshadowed by three falls. In European champion Fabio Jakobsen, a co-favorite fell, followed by two more falls, which apparently all ended lightly. Bauhaus was unscathed, but in the end there was a fairly large gap to Philipsen.

The first endurance test in the Pyrenees is on Wednesday. On the 162.7 kilometers from Pau to Laruns, the peloton is spared a mountain finish. Nevertheless, there are two difficult climbs to be mastered in the Col de Soudet (highest category) and the Col de Marie Blanque (first category). From Marie Blanque to the finish there are still 18.5 kilometers to go.

The organizers have meanwhile increased the safety standards for the two Alpine stages. The asphalt has been renewed on sections 14 and 17, which end with a descent, and warning sounds draw the driver’s attention to bends. Padded barriers should also be set up in the most dangerous curves. The teams should be provided with video material of the descents.

1. Jasper Philipsen (Belgium) – Alpecin-Deceuninck 4:25:28 hrs; 2. Caleb Ewan (Australia) – Lotto Dstny 0 sec; 3. Phil Bauhaus (Bocholt) – Bahrain Victorious; 4. Bryan Coquard (France) – Cofidis; 5. Mark Cavendish (Great Britain) – Astana Qazaqstan Team; 6. Danny van Poppel (Netherlands) – Bora-hansgrohe; 7. Alexander Kristoff (Norway) – Uno-X Pro Cycling Team; 8. Luka Mezgec (Slovenia) – Team Jayco AlUla; 9. Wout van Aert (Belgium) – Jumbo Visma; 10. Mads Pedersen (Denmark) – Lidl Trek.

1. Adam Yates (Great Britain) – UAE Team Emirates 18:18:01 hrs; 2. Tadej Pogacar (Slovenia) – UAE Team Emirates 6s; 3. Simon Yates (Great Britain) – Team Jayco AlUla; 4. Victor Lafay (France) – Cofidis 12; 5. Wout van Aert (Belgium) – Jumbo-Visma 16; 6. Jonas Vingegaard Rasmussen (Denmark) – Jumbo-Visma 17; 7. Michael Woods (Canada) – Israel Premier Tech 22; 8. Jai Hindley (Australia) – Bora-hansgrohe; 9. Carlos Rodriguez Cano (Spain) – Ineos Grenadiers; 10. Mattias Skjelmose Jensen (Denmark) – Lidl Trek.