Jasper Philipsen and a strong confession at the 2024 Tour de France

Belgian Jasper Philipsen arrived at the Tour as the great dominator of the sprints, after the four victories he achieved last year, but it took him eleven stages to achieve a victory that finally freed him and made him once again the benchmark for mass finishes.

Alpecin recovered its lethal tandem in Saint-Amand-Montrond. “I was looking forward to seeing the world champion leaving me 500 metres from the finish line”said the Belgian in relation to the Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel, who handed him his seventh victory in the French round on a silver platter.

Raymond Poulidor’s grandson, who did not seem to be riding in the best of conditions, finally found the right position in a clean finish, where his legs dictated the final decision and which allowed Phlipsen to finally prevail over the Eritrean Biniam Girmay, who snatched two victories from him.

Philipsen was unable to compete in the first mass finish in Bologna on the third stage due to a crash. In the fifth, which ended in Saint-Vulbas, he finished second behind the British Mark Cavendish, who at 39 years of age achieved his 35th victory to overtake Belgian Eddy Merckx as the person with the most stage victories in the Tour.

Frustrated by this result, he went all out for the win the following day in Dijon, finishing second behind Dutchman Dylan Groeneweguen. But his eagerness was too much and the Belgian was eventually disqualified for having closed in on his compatriot Woud van Aert.

He again touched the post at Colombey-les-deux-Églises on the eighth stage, behind Girmay again, and nervousness began to take hold of the Alpecin team, which feared not making the most of its best asset in the Tour.

“It’s true that we had bad luck, but the key is not to give up. I thank the team for not losing faith in me.”he pointed.

The Belgian added Saint-Amand Montrond to his list of Tour triumphs, which began in Carcassonne in 2022, the year in which he also won the final stage on the Champs-Élysées.

The following year saw him establish himself as the best finisher of the moment, with four victories, Bayonne, Nogaro, Bordeaux and Moulins, which catapulted him to secure the green jersey of consistency that he wore on the podium in Paris.

Jasper Philipsen, winner of stage 10.

Tim de Waele/Getty Images

I felt pressure

“It’s true that that year there was more pressure on me. Everyone expected a lot from me and that may have had an influence. Now we’ve achieved a stage victory and I think that frees me up a bit, it takes the pressure off me,” he said.

“Although in my case, I put the pressure on myself, I always want to win and I work every day to achieve it,” he added.

Philipsen is not the most popular rider in the peloton. His manoeuvres at the finish have earned him many enemies, and he himself admits that he does not always play fair.

But after being disqualified this year, he said he feels a bit persecuted, that other riders make similar maneuvers in sprints and do not have the same consequences.

“I never intended to hurt anyone. I think they’ve been very harsh with me. I feel a bit persecuted. Others do worse things and they haven’t been punished.”he told the press in his country.

Philipsen says he doesn’t look back when he goes for victory. “I rely on instinct and maybe I should be more aware of what my moves are doing,” he said.

After finishing the first week without a win, the Belgian continued to believe in his chances. “There are five opportunities left and we have to go for them all,” he said on Monday on the day of rest.

After winning his first stage, the sprinter knows that his legs are ready to add to his list of achievements.

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