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Supreme Wout van Aert hits the spot on the opening stage of Dauphiné |  Criterium du Dauphin 2022

Supreme Wout van Aert hits the spot on the opening stage of Dauphiné | Criterium du Dauphin 2022

Wout van Aert in yellow on the podium after the opening stage. A photo we will see again a month after the start of the tour in Denmark?

In a fast sprint, the Belgian champion doesn’t have to fear anyone. He proved it today by quickly outsmarting his opponents in the final meters of this first stage.

Van Aert knew where he wanted to sit and sat perfectly at Ethan Hayter’s wheel. Without realizing it, the Briton performed the perfect primer. A few times full on the pedals, that’s all Van Aert needed to win the fourth stage ever at Dauphin.

A little side note: In the Ardèche, Van Aert found a track tailored to his needs. The slope was short but hot meaning his biggest competitor Dylan Groenwegen had to lose his part in the peloton.

The Dutchman seemed to be able to come back for some time, but his teammates couldn’t close the gap for more than a minute. In the same group there were a few fast men with Phil Bauhaus, Jordi Meos and Juan Sebastian Molano.

There are no men Van Aart should fear, but he didn’t have to run against the fastest runners. This will also happen to him in the round in the hill stages. There, too, the Belgian champion will have to collect points for his green jersey.

“I’m trying to win a stage this week for confidence,” Van Aert said at the start this morning. This mission worked, and now the mission follows the Green Shirt in the round.

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“I was expecting a tough final today,” Van Aert said in a quick interview. “There were a lot of teams that wanted to throw runners overboard, but I can stick with that.”

Van Aert never had problems and finished it off in the sprint. “It was hard to get past Ethan Hayter. But I’m glad he made it.”

“What if I will try to defend my yellow jersey now? Why not? We have a strong squad. The next stages suit me, so I will definitely try to keep the yellow jersey. I hope I can take it to Primoz (Roglic) this weekend on the bid.”

Van Aart also looked at the past few weeks: “After the spring, I haven’t always been satisfied with how I felt racing. We’ve been working on it in recent weeks. It’s great that this hard work is paying off now.”