Tour de France stage 11: Jasper Philipsen makes it four in Moulins

The Belgian dominated a chaotic bunch sprint after a languid day in central France

Jasper Philipsen wins stage 11 of the 2023 Tour de France in Moulins
(Image credit: Tim De Waele / Getty)

Jasper Philipsen surely earned the right to ditch his 'Jasper Disaster' nickname for good, with a fourth bunch sprint stage victory in this year's Tour de France.

He looked unbeatable as he appeared to almost cruise out of the melee in the final 150 metres in Moulins, ultimately beating second-placed Dylan Groenewegen (Jayco-AlUla) by two bike lengths. Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain Victorious) was third.

Philipsen has already taken wins on stage three in Bayonne, stage four in Nogaro, and stage seven in Bordeaux.

"It's an incredible Tour so far," beamed Philipsen after his win. "I can't realise how good it's all going. I'm really happy with my shape. Also to get through the final without problems is a big challenge and we've managed to do it already four times in a row. Super happy."

He was also looking ahead to the Paris, with a view to standing on the podium in green. "I think I've made a good gap now [to his rivals] so that gives me a bit of comfort going into the Alps," Philipsen said.

The 179.8km stage took riders from Clermont-Ferrand to Moulins in central France, crossing three cat-four climbs along the way.

But these offered little difficulty for the sprinters and their teams, and a bunch sprint seemed on the cards from the beginning. 

After yesterday's exceptionally difficult day in the heat and the hills, the bunch was in no mood for more of the same and the day's early break was allowed to go almost immediately and without fuss.

It comprised Andrey Amador (EF Education-EasyPost) – who slipped off the front as soon as the flag dropped – plus Matis Louvel (Arkéa-Samsic) and Daniel Oss of TotalEnergies.

The trio quickly gained around three minutes on the bunch, who then metaphorically tapped them on the shoulder and warned them against delusions of grandeur by halting their progress, beginning the process of reeling them back in ever so, ever so slowly.

To their credit they didn't allow their heads to drop, and while Louvel and then Amador ultimately coasted back to the peloton in the latter part of the stage, Oss stayed out and was rewarded with the combativity prize.

With Oss finally brought back by the bunch with 10km to go, the rush to the finale began in earnest and on damp roads too. Thankfully for the riders, by the time they reached Moulins the roads, and the weather, were dry, but they still had to contend with numerous roundabouts and turns.

The final gallop was chaotic, but mercifully free of crashes. For a moment it looked as though Groenewegen might have his day until, right off the Dutchman's wheel, came Philipsen. He lit the afterburners, changed into a gear no one else had, and took a clear victory.

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After cutting his teeth on local and national newspapers, James began at Cycling Weekly as a sub-editor in 2000 when the current office was literally all fields. 

Eventually becoming chief sub-editor, in 2016 he switched to the job of full-time writer, and covers news, racing and features.

A lifelong cyclist and cycling fan, James's racing days (and most of his fitness) are now behind him. But he still rides regularly, both on the road and on the gravelly stuff.