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  • Writer's pictureFlow Australia

Philipsen makes back-to-back Tour de France stage wins

Caleb Ewan (right) finished second to Jasper Philipsen in stage four of the Tour De France. Picture: Daniel Cole.

Australia's Caleb Ewan powered into second place in the Tour de France fourth stage in mass sprint that was won by Belgian rider Jasper Philipsen.

It was Philipsen's second straight stage victory, while Adam Yates kept the race leader's yellow jersey heading into the Pyrenees mountains.

Philipsen was once again expertly helped into position to attack by his Alpecin–Deceuninck teammate and Mathieu van der Poel.

Philipsen showcased his pure speed by holding off Ewan at the line to underline his credentials to win the sprinter's green jersey with another impressive performance.

Philipsen's fellow countryman Wout van Aert won it last year, but this year it was all about Philipsen. He spoke about his pride in the victory and his respect for his Aussie competitor.

"Caleb was right next to me. I wasn't too confident. He almost caught up with me at the end, it was really nerve-wracking... I'm extremely proud to have won twice in a row. The finish was super fast, we felt like race cars. There were wide turns that sometimes tightened."

German rider Phil Bauhaus was third to make it the same top three finishers as Monday, with Ewan beating Bauhaus this time. Several riders behind them crashed as they jostled for position on the final straight.

The 181.8-km route from Dax to Nogaro in southwestern France was almost totally flat and again favoured sprinters.

On the eve of the Tour's first mountain stage, a difficult Pyrenean trek, riders were keen to save some energy so the peloton had started at a leisurely pace.

Meanwhile, Yates maintained his six-second lead over two-time Tour winner Tadej Pogačar of Slovenia and his twin brother Simon Yates in third.

"We'll see how it plays out tomorrow. I think it's the very first chance for a breakaway, so all hell will break loose at the start," said Yates, who rides for UAE Team Emirates.

"Then, there are the bonuses on the last climb, so it's going to be a bit difficult for me (to keep the yellow jersey). But we're lucky to have Tadej on our team."

Defending champion Jonas Vingegaard of Denmark stayed in sixth spot but could make up some ground on Wednesday.

That's when Vingegaard and other expert climbers test their legs with two big ascents on Stage 5.

The 162.7km trek from Pau to Laruns includes a daunting 15.2km grind up Col de Soudet that has the toughest category rating.


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