With 33km to race and 11.1km of climbing left in the double dose of Mont Ventoux, the Belgian champion rode away to front of race using a high cadence in a small gear on one of steeper sections of climb.
Behind him a pair of chasers from Trek-Segafredo, Kenny Elissonde and Bauke Mollema, tried to make the catch on the descent, but finished 1:14 back to shake hands and claim the remaining top two podium spots.
Eleven seconds after the Trek pair crested the Giant of Provence a second time, Jumbo-Visma’s Jonas Vingegaard continued to push away from a small yellow jersey group in search of putting time into leader Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), but Pogaćar along with Rigoberto Urán (EF Education-Nippo) and Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) reeled him back before the finish.
Mont Ventoux was ascended the first time from Sault, the longer and easier side of the mountain, and saw Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) make a move with 76km to go, moving clear of an eight-rider group. After a pass through the finish town of Malaucène, Trek’s climber Elissonde attacked when the ascent was tackled from the traditional Bédoin side, making it a hors categorie climb of 15.7km.
After the flurry of attacks in the wind-blown climbs of Ventoux, Pogačar held his GC lead by 5:18 over Urán, moving into second, and Vingegaard up to third at 5:32, holding a slim one-second advantage on Carapaz in fourth. Ben O'Connor (AG2R Citroën), who was second, slipped to fifth overall and is the only other rider within six minutes.
And what about the sprinters? Many of them finished in a group 37 minutes behind Van Aert, and five Deceuninck-QuickStep riders, including points classification leader Mark Cavenish, beating beating the time cut by seven minutes, 40:40 down on the stage winner.
Watch the video above for the full highlights.
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