Wout van Aert took the yellow leader’s jersey on Saturday in the Tour de France. The Belgian of Team Jumbo-Visma sprinted to a second-place finish on the second stage in Denmark and took over the jersey from compatriot Yves Lampaert, who was involved in a crash on an 18-kilometer bridge near the end of the race.
Van Aert also took possession of the green points jersey.
The expected “echelon stage” proved not very spectacular because of the weather conditions, though it was a nervous race. Team Jumbo-Visma kept leaders Jonas Vingegaard, Primoz Roglic and Van Aert well in front the entire stage.
“I expected a bit more action, but in the end, it wasn’t that bad,” Van Aert said. “A Tour stage is always hectic, so you constantly had to be alert.”
Van Aert had a late lead in the race, but Fabio Jakobsen of Quick Step Pro Alpha won the sprint to the finish (4 hours, 34 minutes and 34 seconds). Van Aert finished second and Trek Segafredo’s leader, Mads Pedersen, finished third in the tight finish.
Trek-Segafredo timed its lead-out perfectly, the team said. Jasper Stuyven took the front in the final half kilometer and left Pedersen to take on the final big effort.
Pedersen launched and with 100 meters to go he looked good. In the last 50 meters, however, a speedy Jakobsen spoiled the Dane’s homecoming.
“I opened the sprint 200 meters to go,” Pedersen said. “Fabio was coming so fast in the end, so congrats to him; I couldn’t do anything else. We did everything right. He was just faster.”
Sepp Kuss and Quinn Simmons both finished in the peloton, which contained most of the field and also crossed in the same time as Jakobsen. Simmons finished 111th and Kuss crossed 121st.
Vingegaard placed 27th and Roglic 38th for Jumbo Visma.
The anticipated crosswind over the bridge never materialized, and instead the riders finished with a headwind. Crashes marred the final kilometers, but Trek-Segafredo escaped unscathed and then took over. Simmons, Alex Kirsch and Jasper Stuyven provided a textbook set up for Pedersen.
Besides Van Aert taking over first, the general classification’s leaders didn’t change much. Tadej Pogacar of UAE Team Emirates remained third (+0:07). Pedersen moved from sixth to fifth (+0:12). Vingegaard held on to seventh (+0:16), Roglic held on to eighth (+0:17) and Bauke Mollema of Trek Segafredo stayed in ninth (+0:18).
“Putting on the jersey gives a great feeling,” Van Aert said. “I have been close to it many times, but this time I managed. Despite my two second places in the past stages, the yellow jersey is a nice reward. I will defend and wear this jersey with pride. In any case, there are still many chances for a stage victory to come.”
Simmons moved up one spot in the GC to 59th (+0:55) and Kuss moved up three spots to 88th (+1:08).
In the points race, Van Aert leads with 60, followed by the stage 2 winner, Jakobsen, with 59. Pedersen is third (30), followed by Peter Sagan of TotalEnergies (25) and Lampaert (22).
Magnus Kort of EF Education EasyPost won all three of the stage’s mountain points to take the first lead in the King of the Mountain race.
Jumbo Visma also took over the lead in the team race (14:30:09), leading Enos Grenadiers by 21 seconds and third-place Trek Segafredo by 37 seconds.
The Tour de France will have its third, and final stage in Denmark on Sunday, giving Pedersen one more chance to win on his home soil before the race transitions to France and resumes Tuesday.
“Absolutely crazy – the crowd is amazing,” Pedersen said. “Here’s thanks to everyone who is following and supporting us on the road. It’s something that is really special and gives us goosebumps every time.”