After a wild end to stage four of the Tour de France 2023, Jasper Philipsen wins again.
Mathieu van der Poel, the Belgian’s teammate, led him out again perfectly, and he beat Caleb Ewan of Australia and Phil Bauhaus of Germany.
Mark Cavendish of Britain, who was going for a record-setting 35th stage win, was in fifth place, further back.
Adam Yates, another British rider, still wears the yellow jersey of the winner.
Yates is six seconds ahead of Simon, his twin brother, and Tadej Pogacar, who has won the race twice before.
Stage four, how it went down
The last three kilometers of a mostly flat 181.8-kilometer stage were on the Nogaro motor racing track. The last 800 meters were wide and straight.
But three riders fell before Van der Poel pushed 25-year-old Philipsen to the finish line, just like he did 24 hours earlier in Bayonne.
Cavendish finished sixth on Monday and is in his last Tour. He was in a good position at the start of the final stretch, but he waited too long to charge.
“Carnage, that’s what it was,” the Manxman told Eurosport afterward. “Every team had a plan for that final, but I bet you that none of them worked, except maybe Jumbo-Visma’s plan to get their players into the tight roads.
“There were a lot of different horses in the final. I was always thinking about who was there and who was on a team as I hopped from train to train.
“When I saw that Mads Pedersen had Jasper Stuyven with him, that’s the one, I thought, ‘Mads usually goes early. It’s a windy finish on a long, straight, wide road, so I thought I’d use that.’ But they just didn’t go.
“I was waiting. At one point, I thought, “350 meters, maybe I should hit now to limit my losses.” It’s called the Tour. You gamble. I was waiting for them to go, but they didn’t. They all went first, so I was just trying to get in the best place I could.”
Philipsen has now won four Tour stages, but this one was so close that he didn’t celebrate as he crossed the finish line.
“In the end, it was close, so I was glad they confirmed it quickly,” Philipsen said.
“It was a really easy stage, and I think everyone wanted to save their legs for the Pyrenees tomorrow and the next day. There were some crashes in the last few kilometers before the track, so I hope everyone is okay and safe.
“The final turns were crazy, and I lost my team, but I found Mathieu on the last straight, and he did an amazing pull to help me win.” Caleb was getting close to me and my legs hurt.
Cavendish’s next real chance to break the record of wins he shares with the great Eddy Merckx will come at the end of stage seven, which is on Friday and ends in Bordeaux.On Wednesday, the race goes into the high mountains of the Pyrenees. Stage five goes from Pau to Laruns, which is 162.7 km away, and includes a 15.2 km climb to the top of the Col de Soudet.