Just over again: Phil Bauhaus rushed doggedly and with his last strength towards the finish line, but in the end speed king Jasper Philipsen was unbeatable in Moulins as well. The Belgian celebrated his fourth victory of the day on the eleventh stage of the Tour de France, for Bauhaus there was another podium in the statistics with third place behind Dylan Groenewegen. The 28-year-old was second in Bayonne and third in Nogaro the next day.
“It’s been an incredible tour so far. I can’t get over how well it’s going. I’m very proud and happy with his form. We were good again in the final,” said Philipsen, who had to do without the help of top driver Mathieu van der Poel. A roundabout just before the final sprint had also shaken up the field. “I can win without him. But he is really important for the team.”
Not even the biggest optimists would have expected that Philipsen would dominate the mass sprints in such a way. In addition to the 25-year-old, everything that has a name in the sprint is represented on this year’s tour. Bauhaus was almost ideally positioned in the final, but the difference was once again made by Philipsen’s unbridled strength and tactical flair, who won by a large margin.
There were no changes at the top of the overall standings on the last flat stage before the Alps. Denmark’s defending champion Jonas Vingegaard is 17 seconds ahead of Slovenia’s Tadej Pogacar. Jai Hindley from the German team Bora-hansgrohe is third, 2:40 minutes back.
The first arrival in Tour history at Moulins was set to be the last chance for the sprinters in the second week of the Tour. The prophecy about the course of the Bauhaus race was corresponding. “We expect a small breakaway group and a fairly controlled day,” said the Bocholter at the start in Clermont-Ferrand. The corresponding group with three daring people was found quite quickly, but the field did not even give the trio a four-minute lead. With 13.5 kilometers to go, the field was together again and the preparation for the sprint began.
Team UAE, led by two-time winner Tadej Pogacar, provided entertainment on the largely boring stage. “Okay guys, plan C. We jump the tiger. If the crocodiles have to swim, you jump,” radioed a sports director. It was initially unclear what the instruction meant. In terms of racing, nothing happened immediately on the way to Moulins. It’s possible that the UAE team was joking.
The fact that this year the radio messages are transmitted during the race in a similar way to Formula 1 is an innovation. The communication does not go live on the station, but is taken from a team of officials. Each team receives compensation of 5000 euros. That had already caused discussions because some team bosses considered the amount to be far too low. Five teams, FDJ, Cofidis, Movistar, Jayco and Alpecin, renounced the project and did not want to share potentially sensitive information.
On Thursday there is already a foretaste of the Alps. On the way to the Beaujolais wine region, two category 2 climbs have to be mastered in the last 50 of the 168.8 kilometers. If the classification favorites take it easy, a breakaway group will probably win the day among themselves.