Wout van Aert hails 'special finish' on Great Orme at Tour of Britain after beating Julian Alaphilippe

The Belgian champion is using the British race as a key warm-up for a home World Championships

Wout van Aert on the Tour of Britain 2021 podium after winning stage four on the summit finish of the Great Orme in Llandudno, Wales
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Wout van Aert says his second Tour of Britain stage win is "good for the head" as he heads towards his main goal at the World Championships.

Jumbo-Visma's leader Van Aert put in a huge performance on the brutally steep climb up the Great Orme in Llandudno on the fourth stage of the race, buoyed by the fact that he managed to hold on and beat world champion, Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck - Quick-Step).

The 26-year-old also retook the leader's jersey from British rider Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers), thanks to bonus seconds helped him to take a two second lead into the second half of the tour.

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Speaking after the stage, Olympic silver medallist Van Aert said: "It was a super hard finish especially the first part of the climb was really steep, probably a bit too steep for a guy like me.  I knew if I could hang on there I would have my chance. 

"It’s nice for the head to take a victory, not only because you beat a guy like Julian [Alaphilippe] in a tight finish like that , but also you’re here at bike races to win , at least I am.  So it’s just really nice and I think it’s kind of a special finish here so that just makes me proud."

Van Aert went on to speak about what the team's plan was for the day, saying that they were all in for him to take the stage win despite being a man down after Chris Harper crashed out on stage two.

He also added that his legs feel good enough to go for the overall title, despite being sceptical at the start of the race.

"With only the stage wins there is still 40 bonus seconds coming, so that’s way more than the gap I have now so I need to be ready at every moment of the race. I probably need to do a few sprints because Hayter and I guess Alaphilippe will be my main opponents in GC and are both fast guys so we will see," continued Van Aert.

Van Aert is using the race as a key build-up to the upcoming World Championships, which take place in his home nation of Belgium. It has already been outlined that the entire Belgian team will be working for Van Aert too with Remco Evenepoel making it clear.

The fifth stage of the Tour of Britain starts in Alderley Park and winds its way around Cheshire before finishing in the town of Warrington for a potential bunch sprint, however, the early big climbs could put pay to any sprinters hopes of winning.

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Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.