The latest race content, interviews, features, reviews and expert buying guides, direct to your inbox!
Thank you for signing up to The Pick. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.
It had looked as if the peloton were going to roll into the finish on stage 16 of the Tour de France in easy mode - until Wout van Aert sped to the front.
In the final eight kilometres, the Belgian champion took control of proceedings in an attempt to set up Jumbo-Visma team-mate Jonas Vingegaard to try and take some time on his rivals for the podium.
With a category four climb in the finale before a 500m ascent to the line, Van Aert hoped that he and his teammate could distance some GC riders.
It was an interesting move considering nothing else had happened among the GC favourites all day, and with attention surely turned to the upcoming summit finishes.
"I realised that not all the GC riders were together," Van Aert explained afterwards. "In the end it didn't pay off, but I thought it was worth a try.
"Guillaume Martin attacked [on the final climb] but we were ready too. And Mike [Teunissen] suddenly informed me through the earpiece that not all the favourites were close.
"That was a signal to try something else. Too bad [it didn't work] but I thought it was worth a try."
In the end, in Saint-Gaudens, all the GC riders finished with the same time, meaning Vingegaard remains in third-place, just a second ahead of Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) in fourth.
Van Aert's strength in all terrain and his form - he won stage 11 that included two ascents of Mont Ventoux - means that when he goes off the front, the peloton is loathed to let him dictate the rhythm of the race.
He felt that reluctant again, but accepts that it's part of racing. "It wasn't easy," he admitted. "I am quite targeted.
"There are the boys in the mountains classification, UAE and Pogačar also do not like to see a man from Jumbo-Visma ride ahead, there are those who aim for a stage win who also do not like to see me go ahead...
"Now, if you're really super, it should be possible, but today it didn't work."
The 26-year-old revealed that he still has good condition ahead of the final five stages and hinted that he may go on the attack once again in the Pyrenees.
"Personally I feel good after the rest day," he said. "Tomorrow? We'll make those plans soon."
Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Get The Leadout Newsletter
Chris first started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2013 on work experience and has since become a regular name in the magazine and on the website. Reporting from races, long interviews with riders from the peloton and riding features drive his love of writing about all things two wheels.
Probably a bit too obsessed with mountains, he was previously found playing and guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and now mostly lives in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees where he’s a ski instructor in the winter and cycling guide in the summer. He almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.
Cycling keeps you fit but are you doing enough to stay healthy?
It’s possible to be very fit in one specific way, for example being fast on a bike, while being unhealthy in other ways
By Joe Laverick Published
Dr Hutch: Motor-doping isn't rife, there's no way cyclists would use it discreetly enough
Some fans think that motor-doping is rife, but Cycling Weekly's columnist Dr Hutch is having none of it
By Michael Hutchinson Published
In memoriam: Tadej Pogačar's white jersey domination
After 81 days in the young rider's jersey at Grand Tours, the Slovenian has grown up
By Adam Becket Published
'They race like juniors': How men's pro cycling is getting wilder and races refuse to slow down
Racing from the gun during a three week Grand Tour is a big ask for even the best and the strongest. Is this the new cycling?
By Adam Becket Published
Remco Evenepoel hopes to 'steal' Jonas Vingegaard's secrets at Vuelta a España as he looks to 2024 Tour de France
Belgian aiming for second Vuelta a España triumph over the next three weeks, but faces stiff opposition
By Tom Davidson Published
WorldTour teams have an extra three years to halve carbon emissions before losing license - UCI clarifies
A carbon emissions tracker has been introduced and it is mandatory for all stakeholders to use it
By Chris Marshall-Bell Published
‘I really like city street racing’ - Tadej Pogačar on the ‘enjoyable’ World Championships road race course
Slovenian two-time Tour de France winner took bronze behind rainbow jersey winner Mathieu van der Poel
By Tom Thewlis Published
Opinion: Mark Cavendish Netflix documentary shows why Tour de France return is in doubt
Manxman's route out of depression shows what's really important
By Vern Pitt Published
UCI carried out 997 checks for motor doping at Tour de France, all came back negative
837 tests carried out at stage start using magnetic tablets, 160 at stage finishes using either backscatter or x-ray transmission technology
By Tom Thewlis Published
How to watch Tour de France stage 21: live stream the action
Everything you need to know to watch Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines to Paris Champs Élysées
By Cycling Weekly Published