We were worried if we could beat Rohan Dennis, Wout van Aert says

Belgian says Paris-Nice has been the "perfect week" as Jumbo-Visma take clean sweep of podium again

Wout van Aert
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Wout van Aert and Primož Roglič were "worried" about beating teammate Rohan Dennis before they set out on stage four's time trial at Paris-Nice.

Speaking after his victory over the 13.4km course, which also saw him move into the race lead, the Belgian revealed that Dennis had finished over 30 seconds quicker than Jumbo-Visma's predicted winning time, causing concern that neither he or Roglič would beat their Australian teammate.

In the end, Van Aert finished in 16:20, beating Dennis by six seconds, with Roglič in between the pair at 16:22. The result meant the second podium clean sweep of the week for the team, after Sunday's impressive result.

"Before our trainer planned our time to be around 17 minutes, and then Rohan did 16-26," he explained. "So before the start we were worried if we could beat him. It was always up and down and you could not find one steady rhythm. 

"Especially in the last steep part you needed something left. I think I managed to save something in the downhills, made myself as aero as possible and then went full gas on the climbs."

The Belgian was two seconds ahead of Dennis' time at the intermediate time check, and then extended that to six by the finish.

It meant that Van Aert is now in the yellow jersey, leading his teammates Roglič and Christophe Laporte. It has been a pretty good week for the team, it is safe to say, and Van Aert has not finished lower than third across the four stages so far. He also leads the points classification.

"It's the perfect week, especially with the team," he explained. "We really attacked this race and showed what we’re here for. Today everyone was motivating each other. Results again, and a nice podium."

Heading into the second half of the race, Jumbo-Visma look to have a stranglehold on the race, although the hillier stages towards the end of the race might favour Roglič.

"I hope to wear the jersey as long as Primoż doesn’t take it over from me," Van Aert said. "The hardest stages are coming now, and for me a lot of nice things after. We will start tomorrow and really enjoy this yellow jersey, and then we will see day by day."

"I think the most important part of Paris-Nice is over for me. It’s a race of preparation for me for the classics that are coming, and I hope to hand this jersey over in one of the next days to my teammate Primož, we are here to win with him."

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