Tour de France Women: Marianne Vos strengthens the defense of the dusty yellow jersey

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BAR-SUR-AUBE, France (VN) — Marianne Vos looks like she was made to wear the yellow jersey.

The Jumbo-Visma pilot kept his hand on the yellow jersey after stage 4 of the Tour de France Women with Zwift on Wednesday, where she finished fifth in a highly publicized stage for its 13 km of gravel, spread over four sectors interspersed with hard-hitting climbs.

Vos was repeatedly asked about the challenges of gravel racing, and she admitted it was easy to overlook if everything was going well, which they did for her on Wednesday.

“If you’ve come through it well, you’re like, ‘Oh, that’s pretty good,'” said the cyclocross world champion. “I think there are probably runners who are relieved. We had to really fight for position, especially before the gravel sections and before the climbs as well. So I can imagine that for the general classification, for the riders going to the general classification, it’s quite a difficult day and it’s going to be stressful too.

With a stage victory and two days in yellow, Vos is 16 seconds ahead of Silvia Persico (Valcar Travel & Service) and Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) in the general classification.

It was hard to spot the yellow jersey in all the dust of the gravel sections. (Photo: Bernard Papon – Piscine/Getty Images)

While these two riders are aiming for the general classification, Vos does not seem to be included in the race for GC.

“Well, of course, you have to be realistic,” she said. “With the climbs coming this weekend, normally there are the GC riders who are very, very, very strong who will take a long time. It’s a different type of weekend racing. Of course, I’m very happy to wear the yellow jersey now.

Vos’s yellow jersey comes with a great responsibility, not the least of which is always being available to speak to the media. Keeping pace with the recovery – always synonymous with success – has become all the more difficult with the additional demands of the yellow jersey.

“It’s important and difficult at the same time,” Vos said. “Of course you always hear with the guys in the Tour de France wearing the yellow jersey, there’s a lot going on and there’s not much time left, and I have to say that’s true. And that’s also true at every step that recovery is very important, you try to do everything right, you try to stay focused for the next day.

The following day, the Tour de France Women is a relatively flat 175.6 km hike from Bar-le-Duc to Saint-Dié-des-Vosges. The stage challenges the UCI maximum for a women’s stage over 15 km and wins the longest stage to date (during the Giro Rosa 2020) of 5 km.

Vos said the race’s distance shouldn’t make people expect a passive or boring race.

“Of course all the girls are very well trained here and at the highest level,” she said. “I think anyone can cover that distance. Of course, after a few days of racing, it will get into your legs so maybe in the final it will make the difference. Still, it’s a long race and a lot of things can happen so the sprint team might be interested in the sprints, but there might be a lot of other teams interested in a breakaway. I don’t expect an easy stage tomorrow.

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