After a trio of second-place finishes in the first three stages, Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) from Belgium stood on the top step of the winner’s podium for the first time at the 2022 Tour de France when he rode to a victory in Stage 4 during a hilly ride from Dunkirk to Calais.

Wout van Aert Stage 4 Tour de France Dunkirk Calais
Wou van Aert crosses the finish line in Calais to win Stage 4 of the 2022 Tour de France. (Image: Getty)

The first three stages of the 2022 Tour de France were hosted in Denmark before the peloton had a transfer day on Monday, with everyone flying to France for the first stage on French soil with a start in historic Dunkirk for Stage 4.

2022 Tour de France – Stage 4 Results
  1. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) 4:01:36
  2. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) +0:08
  3. Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma) +0:08

There was a possibility for a bunch sprint finish in Stage 4, but van Aert squashed any attempt from sprinters with a dominating solo attack to win in Calais by eight seconds. Van Aert locked up his first stage win of the 2022 tour while retaining the yellow jersey as the tour’s overall leader. Van Aert initially secured the yellow jersey after Stage 2 Roskilde > Nyborg, and successfully defended it in back-to-back stages.

Stage 4: Dunkirk > Calais

With few sprint stages on the schedule this week, Stage 4 — a hilly and punchy 171.5 km ride from Dunkirk to Calais on the coast — offered sprinters their last possible chance to claim victory until the end of the second week of Le Tour.

A big team attack from Jumbo-Visma occurred on the final climb at Cote du Cap Blanc-Nez. Van Aert took off, and no one could keep up on the ascent, including his Jumbo-Visma teammates Jonas Vingegaard and Primoz Roglic.

“Wout was flying on the climb,” said Stage 3 winner Dylan Groenewegen. “He was too strong for everyone.”

“(Jumbo-Visma) are really strong, especially van Aert, he just smashed everyone today,” said defending champion Tadej Pogacar. “Not even Vingegaard and Roglic could follow him.”

“The goal was just to go full to the top and see what happened, but then I came on top alone,” said van Aert. “I was in a bit of doubt if I should wait for Jonas (Vingegaard), but by going full, I also put Jonas and the others in a good position so they didn’t have to ride. I decided to go alone and then it was 10K of all-out suffering.”

Van Aert opened a 30-second lead with 4km and a chase pack eager to close the gap. By the time the peloton reached Calais, van Aert had crossed the finish line eight seconds ahead of the sprinters. The Belgian secured his seventh career stage win and held on to the yellow jersey as the overall leader. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck)  took second and Jumbo-Visma’s Christophe Laporte finished in third place.

Here come the cobbles in Stage 5

Stage 5 is the dreaded “cobble stage,” which begins in Lille and ends 157 km later in Arenberg Porte du Hainaut. This short route has 11 tough sections with cobblestones for roughly 20 km.

There’s a popular saying, “You cannot win the Tour de France in the first week, but you can certainly lose it.” With Stage 5 and its fearsome cobblestones, some of the GC contenders could meet their fate on the ride from Lille to Arenberg.

Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) is a strong cobblestone rider and the favorite to win Stage 5 at +340 odds, followed by van Aert at +500 odds to win back-to-back stages. Keep an eye on cobblestones-master Florian Senechal at +1400 odds.

2022 Le Tour – Overall GC Standings
  1. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) 13:02:43
  2. Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) +0:25
  3. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) +0:32
  4. Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) +0:36
  5. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) +0:38

With an impressive Stage 4 victory, van Aert extended the overall GC lead by 25 seconds over Stage 1 winner Yves Lampaert in second place, and 32 seconds ahead of Pogacar in third place. It’s only a matter of time before van Aert relinquishes the yellow jersey, but he’d like to wear it for a few more days. He’s +2500 odds to win his first-ever Tour de France.

Vingegaard sits in sixth place, 40 seconds behind his Jumbo teammate van Aert. Roglic is right behind in seventh place and 41 seconds off the lead. Roglic has his eyes on Pogacar, who is just 11 seconds ahead after four stages.

Pogacar is -150 odds to win his third-straight Tour de France. Vingegaard is second on the futures board at +300 odds to win the yellow jersey, while Roglic is +500 odds.

Check out more of OG’s coverage of the 2022 Tour de France.