You all saw the replay. Nothing to recap here, just that the Tour de France jury decided to confirm the sprint victory of Alpecin-Fenix sprinter Jasper Philipsen, following a 20-minute deliberation to determine whether he came too far off his line in closing out Jumbo’s Wout Van Aert. They didn’t relegate him, he’s got his third Tour stage, and we can all move on to tomorrow.
In short, Philipsen emerged from a super-animated pack of sprint-hopeful teams, seemingly every team apart from UAE, in a final-10km scrum of grandest proportions. They overcame a few tricky bends as well in getting to the line cleanly, without incident, where Philipsen followed super-domestique Mathieu van der Poel for a clear shot to the line from the front of the pack. Van Aert was right on his wheel and chose the right barriers, while several others aimed to the left. Philipsen was the strongest of the riders up front on the slightly inclining course and took the race by half a length over Bora’s Phil Bauhaus, but as he swung right and left with the barriers, he eventually had Van Aert looking at a narrow space, and eventually Van Aert sat up.
That, presumably, is what the jury scrutinized. The case against Philipsen is that after curving to the right, the barriers nudged back left again, so maybe Philipsen was just pretending to leave that space, essentially holding his line on the rightward swing, knowing the leftward one would knock Van Aert out of contention. But to Philipsen’s defense, he held his line until a certain point at which Van Aert wasn’t in position anymore. The jury agreed.
Amorebieta-Etxano - Bayonne 193.5 km
Looks like we have arrived at the first chance for the sprinters to do their thing. This is our third Basque Country day even if the finish moves us into the French Basque region.
Expected finish time: 17:25-17:50 CEST
Ham of the Day : Fabio Jakobsen
Time to shake off the Ala-disappointment and return to what the Woolpack does best, winning the sprints that matter.