It seemed inevitable that Wout van Aert would win a stage of Paris-Nice in 2022. In the opening three days he was third, second and third again… and then he got his victory, in a time trial ahead of two team-mates: Roglic in second place and Dennis in third.
Paris-Nice: stage 4
There are a few surprises in the results of the time trial of stage four at Paris-Nice. In the GC stakes, for example, there’s promise being shown by the Brit from Team Bike Exchange, Simon Yates, who scored an impressive fifth place. He’s not known for his ability in a TT but clearly his form is improving in this discipline.
Ahead of Yates, however, was a collective of four TT specialists, three of them from one team! Jumbo-Visma continues to dominate proceedings at Paris-Nice in 2022 and, for the second time in four days, three riders from one team filled the podium.
In Montluçon, after the 13.4km test on a largely flat course, Wout van Aert claimed victory ahead of team-mates Primoz Roglic and Rohan Dennis.
Van Aert’s win means he takes the leader’s jersey from another team-mate, Christophe Laporte, the Frenchman who won the opening stage and was the next-best of the Jumbo-Visma team in the TT on Wednesday.
“It’s a perfect week so far with the team,” said the Belgian stage winner who relegated the Olympic TT champion, Roglic, to the runner-up position (at 0:02) with Dennis, the Australian TT champion, third at 0:06.
“We motivate each other and it got us another podium.
“It was a really good course for me,” continued van Aert. “In the previous years, I always had a hard time when you had to change rhythm all the time, but today I managed… and it resulted in a beautiful victory.”
While it’s clear that Jumbo-Visma has options, the GC leader of the Dutch team remains Roglic and van Aert spelled that out at the end of his interview after the stage four victory.
“I hope to hand over this jersey to Primoz in the next few days. The harder stages are coming and there are good things to do.”
Jumbo-Visma continues to hold down the top three places on GC, only the order has swapped around a little with van Aert in the yellow jersey, Roglic in second at 0:10 and Laporte now ranked third at 0:28.
Despite his impressive third place in the TT, Dennis is out of contention for the title but that shouldn’t be a surprise. He is riding for Roglic in Paris-Nice and once his work is done, he can switch off, rest, and it doesn’t matter if he loses time – that’s all part of the deal for him this time, at this race. Still, it was good to see the green-and-gold national champion’s jersey on display on the day he was beaten by two team-mates.
“It was a tough time trial with a challenging course,” said Dennis after his third-place in the TT. “After days of work, I am happy with my result. It’s great that we are doing so well as a team.”
Results from Paris-Nice (via LeTour.fr)