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Vingegaard moves into second in GC

Kuss finishes 12th on Stage 5 after helping leader pass Pogacar
Sepp Kuss of Durango, center, watches Team Jumbo-Visma leader Jonas Vingegaard attack on Wednesday during Stage 5 of the Tour de France. (Courtesy Team Jumbo-Visma)

Aided by a strong effort from Durangoan Sepp Kuss, Team Jumbo-Visma leader Jonas Vingegaard moved up four spots to second place in the Tour de France’s general classification with a timely attack on Wednesday.

On the first two climbs of the day, the GC riders kept quiet, but on the Col de Marie Blanque, the race exploded when Jai Hindley (BORA-hansgrohe) broke away. In the thinned peloton behind, Vingegaard attacked after good work from Kuss.

“I saw that Tadej Pogacar did not react immediately. Jonas immediately had a gap, and then he had to keep going,” Kuss said. “I did everything I could. When I reached the top of the Marie Blanque in Pogacar's wheel, the difference with Jonas was already huge. Jonas was flying today. It was an excellent stage for the whole team.”

Hindley sprinted through the finish line all by himself to win Stage 5 and he took the yellow jersey from Adam Yates of UAE Team Emirates in the process. Vingegaard, meanwhile, led the next group of four to the finish line, and he didn’t get any help doing it. Giulio Ciccone of Lidl-Trek won the four-man sprint to finish second on the stage, 32 seconds after Hindley. Vingegaard ended up finishing fifth on the stage, but he crossed 1:04 before the next bunch of 10 to pass Yates and also rival Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates).

“My legs were perfect on the last climb,” Vingegaard said. “I wanted to test Pogacar. We discussed this scenario before, but I did not expect it to go so well. We wanted to make the race hard today. I think we succeeded. The team rode well today.”

“I'm happy I could take so much time from some of the GC riders. Hindley was very strong today. We should not underestimate him,” the Danish rider concluded.

Ciccone moved up 14 spots in the GC to third while Lidl-Trek leader Mattias Skjelmose led the next chasing pack to place sixth on the stage and move into eighth in the GC (+1:56).

Kuss finished in the same pack as Skjelmose and Pogacar, crossing 12th on the stage. The effort helped Kuss move up 10 places in the GC to 16th where he trails Hindley by 3:15. Kuss has Jumbo-Visma’s second best overall time, helping the squad stay in first in the team race. Lidl-Trek moved up two spots to third (+3:24) while INEOS Grenadiers moved up one spot to second (+1:46). Pogacar slipped from second to sixth in the GC and is now 52 seconds behind Vingegaard. Pogacar still has a 16-second lead in the youth race over Skjelmose.

Durangoan Quinn Simmons (Lidl-Trek), meanwhile, finished 136th on the stage after a hard, high-speed crash early in the race ripped a big hole on the shoulder of his jersey. Simmons was able to continue and moved up nine spots in the GC to 144th on Wednesday (+1:01:22).

American Neilson Powless lost the King of the Mountain jersey after Felix Gall, who finished third on the stage, grabbed 28 points on the day. Jasper Philipsen of Alpecin-Deceuninck, the Stage 3 and Stage 4 winner, held on to the points jersey.