Van Aert wins fifth stage to turn Dauphine screw


Belgium’s Jumbo-Visma rider Wout van Aert sprinted to victory in the fifth stage of the Criterium du Dauphine on Thursday to consolidate his lead in the overall standings.

It was a second stage win for the Belgian champion, coming four days after his victory in the opening sprint stage in Beauchastel.

Van Aert was made to work for the win, however, edging fellow Belgian Jordi Meeus by a third of a wheel at the end of the 162.3km stage that was almost witness to an unlikely heist.

The peloton left it incredibly late, at under 1km from the finish, to reel in a four-strong breakaway group comprising Austrian Sebastian Schoenberger, Belgium’s Jan Bakelants and the French pair of Fabien Doubey and Benjamin Thomas.

In a thrilling finish, Van Aert bolted past the quartet who had broken clear at the 30km mark, taking Meeus with him, Britain’s Ineos rider Ethan Hayter left to round out the podium.

“Until the last kilometre, I was focused on catching the break and then I quickly shifted to trying to do a good sprint,” said Van Aert, quick to praise his Jumbo teammates.

“Luckily Christophe (Laporte) did a master pull in the end and before I asked the boys to do everything they could.

“It’s huge to win again on the Dauphine. Today it was really hard again to catch the break. I needed all my teammates to bridge the gap and it worked out in the end. I’m really proud of my teammates.”

Friday’s sixth stage is a 196.5km ride between Rives and Gap which includes two category two climbs.