Jasper Philipsen won his second successive Tour de France stage amid scenes of chaos as several riders hit the ground on the final circuit on Tuesday.
Caleb Ewan took second place and Phil Bauhaus finished third in the fourth stage, a 182km ride from Dax, with Adam Yates retaining the overall leader’s yellow jersey.
After the peloton rode at a snail’s pace most of the day, things got hectic in the finale on the Paul Armagnac racing track, near the vineyards that once belonged to 1973 Tour champion Luis Ocana.
With just over 1.5 kilometre to go, European champion Fabio Jakobsen hit the deck on a right-hand bend, with his Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl team mate Julian Alaphilippe saying the riders were caught by surprise by the turns.
“It’s only skin. Today was really chaos. It’s just a big fight, it’s always unfortunate. Really easy stage, nobody was tired so the fight is heavier. It was really a big mess,” Soudal-QuickStep sports director Tom Steels said.
Half a dozen riders crashed inside the final kilometre, but nothing could derail Philipsen, who again benefited from a perfect lead-out to become the first sprinter to secure back-to-back victories on the Tour since Dylan Groenewegen in 2018.
Philipsen took the green jersey for the points classification leader from Victor Lafay.
“Caleb was just next to me he was close to beating me in the end. It’s very special to win twice in a row,” said Philipsen, who again stayed in Mathieu van der Poel’s slipstream until his final effort.
“It’s my first time on a car racing track. It was odd. I hope the guys who crashed are OK.”
The Tour de France hits the mountains on Wednesday with a 162.5km trek from Pau to Laruns, featuring the punishing Col de Soudet (15.2km at 7.2%) and Col de Marie Blanque (7.7km at 8.6%).
⏪ A chaotic final KM on the Circuit de Nogaro, but that didn't stop Philipsen claiming a 2nd stage win. Relive it now
— Tour de France™ (@LeTour) July 4, 2023