Tour de France 2023 – Stage 18

Asgreen Leads the Resistance!

Stage 18: Moûtiers to Bourg-en-Bresse, 184.9km

Kasper Asgreen win Stage 18 of the 2023 Tour de France
Kasper Asgreen win Stage 18 of the 2023 Tour de France © A.S.O. / Pauline Ballet

Bourg-en-Bresse, Thursday, July 20th  –Kasper Asgreen claimed a surprise win at Bourg-en-Bresse, his first at the Tour de France, as he along with his breakaway companions Pascal Eenkhoorn and Jonas Abrahamsen frustrated the peloton crossing the line with 25m to spare. Jasper Philipsen who was the top favourite had in what would on any other day be a certain catch had to settle for fourth in the first position of the peloton. Asgreen delivered Soudal Quick-Step’s first stage victory this year and a third for Denmark after Mads Pedersen and Jonas Vingegaard. The latter retains the yellow jersey.

Stage 18 Top 10 and GC

Tour de France 2023 – Stage 17

Vingegaard delivers mortal blow to Pogacar hopes of victory

Couchevel, Wednesday, July 19th  – Felix Gall gave AG2R Citroën Team it’s first win of the 2023 Tour de France, and after Jai Hindley and Carlos Rodriguez, became the third Tour de France debutant to win a stage. The 25 year old achieved his win on soloing up to 2304m col de la Loze to win at Courchevel by 34″ Simon Yates (Team Jayco AlUla) who had to settle for a second runner-up place of the Tour. Pello Bilbao (Bahrain – Victorious) rounded out the podium at 1’38”. The shock result though was the arrival of Jonas Vingegaard in fourth spot and the huge margin to Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) who sagged over the line 7’37” after Gall and 5’45” down on Vingegaard. Vingegaard added to the pain by snatching the 2″ time bonus for fourth place.

19/07/2023 – Tour de France 2023 – Stage 17 – Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc / Courchevel (165,7 km) – GALL Felix (AG2R CITROEN TEAM) Photo: A.S.O._Pauline_Ballet

It was a seconf nightmare stage for Pogačar after losing big on the previous day’s Individual Time Trial. He must have felt he was being played while dueling with Vingegaard in the days before the rest day such was Vingegaard’s massive finishing margins subsequently.

The damage wrought by Vingegaard affected much of the GC. Pogačar, Rodriguez and Adam Yates retained their podium places but stage results for Simon Yates saw him jump three spots to fifth, Bilbao to sixth, Gall to eighth, while Hindley, Sepp Kuss and David Gaudu are clinging on to top ten spots.

Stage 17 Top 10 & GC

Tour de France 2023 – Stage 14

Rodriquez gives Ineos back-to-back Stage Victories

Stage 14: Annemasse to Morzine les Portes du Soleil, 151.8km

22 year old Carlos Rodríguez (INEOS Grenadiers) took his first Grand Tour stage with a solo win, 5″ ahead of Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) and Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) who were locked in a pugilistic struggle for the GC and barely noticed the young Spaniard had taken a lead on the descent from the col de Joux-Plane.

Carlos Rodriguez winning Stage 14
Carlos Rodriguez winning Stage 14 © A.S.O. / Charly Lopez

How it happened

First significant breakaway took shape with Lars van den Berg (Groupama-FDJ) being joined by Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal-Quick Step) and Krists Neilands (Israel-Premier Tech) and later by Dani Martinez (Ineos Grenadiers) and Alexey Lutsenko (Astana). Romain Bardet (DSM-Firmenich) and James Shaw (EF Education-EasyPost) crashed out in the downhill of col de Saxel at km 25.

The next couple of hours belonged to Giulio Ciccone. A sizeable break had developed bu the Italian was eager for KOM points. Ciccone outsprinted polka dot jersey wearer Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost), Alaphilippe and Pinot at cat. 1 col de Cou (km 35.3). The Italian also crested cat. 1 col du Feu (km 52) first and forged on by himself in the downhill until Pinot, Landa, Alex Aranburu (Movistar) Wout Poels (Bahrain Victorious) and Michael Woods (Israel-Premier Tech) came across. Pinot, Landa, Poels, Martin, Martinez, Ciccone, Alexey Lutsenko (Astana), Alex Aranburu and Gorka Izagirre, (Movistar), Hugo Houle and Woods (Israel-PremierTech) managed to stay away while Jumbo-Visma kept them on a leash. Ciccone passed the line of the intermediate sprint at col de Jambaz (km 65.5) in first position. Ciccone and Woods rode away at the beginning of the ascent to col de la Ramaz (km 101). Their former breakaway companions got reeled in 10km before the top while the yellow jersey group was down to about thirty riders including six from Jumbo-Visma and six from UAE Team Emirates. Ciccone surrendered two kilometres further. Van Aert crested col de la Ramaz in first position.

The Punch and Counter Punch Show

16 riders were reunited at the front with 30km to go: Van Aert, Sepp Kuss, Wilco Kelderman, Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma), Felix Grossschartner, Rafal Majka, Adam Yates, Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates), Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe), Carlos Rodriguez (Ineos Grenadiers), Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious), David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), Simon Yates, Chris Harper (Jayco-AlUla), Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) and Felix Gall (Ag2r-Citröen). The team of the yellow jersey led the charge up to col de Joux-Plane, the 250th hors-category climb of the Tour de France since the inception of the label in 1979. 5km before the top, Hindley couldn’t hold the pace set by Kuss, the American being followed by A. Yates, Pogacar, Vingegaard and Rodriguez. With 3.7km of climbing remaining, Pogacar attacked. The Slovenian remained 4’’ ahead of the Dane for two kilometres. Vingegaard made it across and sprinted to collect 8’’ time bonus and the lead in the KOM competition atop col de Joux-Plane. Rodriguez and Yates made the junction in the downhill. Rodriguez rode away solo with 8km to go and remained at the front till the end. He even moved one step up to take place in the top 3 instead of Hindley for one second.

Stage 14 Results & GC

Tour de France 2023 – Stage 9

WOODS Dominates on Puy de Dôme

Michael Woods (

Puy de Dôme, Sunday, July 9th  –Michael Woods (Israel – Premier Tech) won stage 9 to the Puy de Dôme from a breakaway that went from the gun. The Canadian broke the heart of American Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar Team) who had led the race solo for the last 48kms only to be overtaken by Woods in the last kilometre and then by Pierre Latour and Matej Mohorič (Bahrain – Victorious) in the last 50m.

A duel between Tadej Pogacar and Jonas Vingegaard in the last 1.5km of racing saw the Slovenian reclaim 8 seconds but the Dane who retained the yellow jersey.

Tour de France 2023 – Stage 8

Pedersen sprints to victory in Limoges, Cavendish crashes out of the Tour

Stage 8 of the Tour de France was a hilly affair, as the riders travelled 200.7km from Libourne to Limoges, with a drag up to the finish line. The stage was won by Mads Pedersen (Lidl-Trek), who outsprinted Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) and Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) in a reduced bunch sprint, while Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) retained the yellow jersey ahead of Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates). Absent from the fray was Mark Cavendish who crashed, breaking his collarbone, with about 60km remaining.

Mads Pedersen claims Stage 8 in Limoges
Mads Pedersen claims Stage 8 in Limoges

How it happened

Profile of Stage 8 of the 2023 Tour de France
Profile of Stage 8 of the 2023 Tour de France © A.S.O. / Charly Lopez

The stage was marked by a breakaway of six riders, who escaped early on and built up a maximum lead of over five minutes. The escapees were Victor Campenaerts (Lotto Dstny), Anthony Perez (Cofidis), Simon Clarke (Qhubeka-NextHash), Jonas Koch (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty), Sean Bennett (EF Education-EasyPost) and Fabien Doubey (TotalEnergies).

The breakaway was never given much leeway by the peloton, which was controlled by Jumbo-Visma and UAE Team Emirates for most of the day. The gap started to come down on the first climb of the day, the Côte de Champs-Romain (2.8km at 5.2%), where Perez took the maximum points ahead of Campenaerts and Clarke.

Cavendish Out of the Tour

Mark Cavendish’s dream of breaking the record for the most Tour de France stage wins ended in agony on stage 8, as he crashed out of the race with a broken collarbone. The British sprinter, who had equalled Eddy Merckx’s tally of 34 victories on stage 13, was involved in a pile-up with about 60km to go on the hilly stage from Libourne to Limoges. He was seen holding his shoulder and grimacing in pain before being taken away in an ambulance.

Cavendish, who had announced his retirement at the end of the season, had come close to making history on stage 7, but was denied by a gear issue in the final sprint. He had won four stages in this year’s Tour, defying expectations after being a late call-up by his Deceuninck-QuickStep team. His crash left his fans and teammates heartbroken, as he bid farewell to his final Tour.

Breakaway gives way for a sprint finish

The second climb, the Côte de Masmont (1.3km at 5.5%), saw Perez repeat his feat, followed by Campenaerts and Doubey. The breakaway still had a lead of over three minutes at this point, but it was clear that they would not make it to the finish.

The third and final climb, the Côte de Condat-sur-Vienne (1.2km at 5.4%), was where the breakaway fell apart, as Campenaerts attacked and dropped his companions, while Perez crashed on a corner and had to abandon the race. Behind him, Clarke and Koch tried to chase down Campenaerts, while Bennett and Doubey were caught by the peloton.

Campenaerts reached the top of the climb with a lead of one minute over Clarke and Koch, and two minutes over the peloton, which was led by Jumbo-Visma and UAE Team Emirates. The Belgian time trial specialist gave his all on the flat run-in to Limoges, but he was eventually reeled in with 4km to go.

The stage was then set for a sprint finish, but it was not a straightforward one, as the last kilometre had a 3.1% gradient that favoured the stronger riders. Van Aert looked like the favourite, as he had his Jumbo-Visma teammates leading him out, but he was surprised by Pedersen, who launched his sprint from far out and held off Philipsen and Van Aert to take his second Tour de France stage win.

Vingegaard finished safely in the main group and kept his yellow jersey for another day, with a lead of 35 seconds over Pogacar and 2:29 over Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal-Quickstep). The other GC contenders also finished in the same time, with no changes in the top ten overall.

Stage 8 Results and GC

The Tour de France continues on Sunday with a mountainous stage from Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat to Puy de Dôme, which features four climbs, including an uphill finish on the extinct volcano.

Tour de France 2023 – Stage 7

Philipsen makes it a hat-trick in Bordeaux

Stage 7: Mont-de-Marsan to Bordeaux (169.9km)

Jasper Philipsen wins his third 2023 Tour de France stage
Jasper Philipsen wins his third 2023 Tour de France stage © A.S.O. / Pauline Ballet

Bordeaux, Friday, July 7th  –Jasper Philipsen won the third bunch sprint of the 110th Tour de France, making it three out of three as he deprived Mark Cavendish from the record-breaking 35th stage victory of his career. It’s his fifth win in two years. The Belgian is definitely the current dominating sprinter. He also extended his lead in the points classification while Jonas Vingegaard retained the overall lead.

Tour de France 2023 – Stage 6

Hard hitting Pogačar takes the fight to Vingegaard

Cauterets-Cambasque, Thursday, July 6th  –The day after losing his stage 5 battle with Jonas Vingegaard, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) bounced back to claim a solo victory at Cauterets-Cambasque, his 15th win of the 2023 season and his 10th stage at the Tour de France while defending champion Jonas Vingegaard took over from Jai Hindley in the overall ranking to leave the Pyrénées in the maillot jaune.

Tadej Pogačar wins Stage 6: Photo ASO/Charly Lopez

Stage 6 of the Tour de France was a thrilling showdown in the high Pyrenees, as Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) bounced back from his setback on stage 5 and claimed a stunning victory at Cauterets-Cambasque, dropping his main rival Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) in the final kilometre. Vingegaard took over the yellow jersey from Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe), who cracked on the Col du Tourmalet, but he lost 12 seconds to Pogacar, who moved up to second place overall.

The 144.9km stage from Tarbes to Cauterets was a brutal test for the GC contenders, with two iconic climbs – the Col d’Aspin (12km at 6.5%) and the Col du Tourmalet (17.1km at 7.3%) – before the final ascent to Le Cambasque (16km at 5.4%). The stage was animated by a large breakaway of 23 riders, which included Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Victor Lafay (Cofidis), Simon Yates (Jayco-Alula) and Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost).

The breakaway split on the Col d’Aspin, with Van Aert setting a hard pace for Vingegaard, who was sitting comfortably in the peloton behind his UAE Team Emirates rivals. On the descent, Van Aert was joined by Powless, Yates and Lafay, while Hindley was dropped from the yellow jersey group and lost contact with his Bora-Hansgrohe teammates.

The four leaders started the Col du Tourmalet with a lead of over four minutes on the peloton, but they were soon reduced to three when Yates was dropped. Behind them, Vingegaard launched a surprise attack with 1.4km to go to the summit, catching Pogacar and his group off guard. The Slovenian quickly reacted and bridged across to Vingegaard, while Alaphilippe tried to follow but could not close the gap.

Vingegaard and Pogacar crested the Tourmalet together, with Powless joining them on the descent after dropping Van Aert and Lafay. The trio had a lead of over a minute on Alaphilippe’s group, which included Uran, Bernal, Bardet and Buchmann. Hindley was over four minutes behind and out of contention for the yellow jersey.

The final climb to Le Cambasque was a tense duel between Vingegaard and Pogacar, who took turns setting the pace and testing each other. Powless hung on bravely but could not contribute to the effort. With 1km to go, Pogacar made his decisive move and accelerated away from Vingegaard, who could not respond. The defending champion crossed the line with his arms aloft, celebrating his first stage win of this Tour.

Vingegaard came home in second place, 12 seconds behind Pogacar, while Powless held on for third place, 40 seconds behind the winner. Alaphilippe led the chasing group over the line, 1:44 behind Pogacar, followed by Uran, Bernal, Bardet and Buchmann.

The stage shook up the GC standings, with Vingegaard taking over the yellow jersey with a lead of 35 seconds on Pogacar and 2:29 on Alaphilippe. Uran moved up to fourth place at 2:31, followed by Bernal at 2:35 and Bardet at 2:38. Hindley dropped to seventh place at 3:01, while Buchmann climbed to eighth at 3:03.

The Tour de France continues on Friday with a flat stage from Lourdes to Toulouse, which should favour the sprinters.

Stage 6 Results and GC

Tour de France 2023 – Stage 5

Aussie Rules OK. Jai Hindley solos to stage win and yellow jersey.

Laruns, Wednesday, July 5th  –After Phil Anderson, Stuart O’Grady, Bradley McGee, Robbie McEwen, Simon Gerrans, Cadel Evans and Rohan Dennis, Jai Hindley (BORA – hansgrohe) became the eighth Australian in the yellow jersey as he soloed to victory in Laruns after making a smart move in a numerous breakaway from far out on his Tour de France debut! Jonas Vingegaard bettered arch-rival Tadej Pogačar in the first Pyrenean stage.

05/07/2023 – Tour de France 2023 – Etape 5 – Pau / Laruns (162,7 km) – Jai HINDLEY (BORA – HANSGROHE) – Maillot Jaune

Stage 5 of the Tour de France was a day of drama in the Pyrenees, as the race exploded on the first mountain test of the 2023 edition. The 178km stage from Pau to Laruns featured four categorized climbs, including the hors categorie Col de Soudet and the first category Col de Marie Blanque, before a fast descent to the finish.

The stage was won by Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe), who attacked from a large breakaway group on the Col de Soudet and soloed to victory in Laruns, taking the yellow jersey from Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates) in the process. Hindley, who finished second in the 2020 Giro d’Italia, showed his climbing prowess and endurance as he held off a chasing group of four riders, led by Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), who sprinted to second place ahead of Victor Lafay (Cofidis) and Simon Yates (Jayco-Alula).

05/07/2023 – Tour de France 2023 – Stage 5 – Pau / Laruns (162,7 km) – Jai HINDLEY (BORA – HANSGROHE)

But the biggest story of the day was the battle between the main GC contenders on the Col de Marie Blanque, where Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) launched a devastating attack that dropped Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), the defending champion and pre-race favourite. Vingegaard, who won the Critérium du Dauphiné in June, showed no fear as he accelerated away from Pogačar and a select group of riders, including Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal-Quickstep), Rigoberto Uran (EF Education-EasyPost), Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) and Romain Bardet (dsm-firmenich).

Vingegaard quickly opened up a gap of over a minute on Pogačar, who seemed to struggle with the heat and the steep gradients of the climb. The Slovenian was isolated from his UAE Team Emirates teammates, who had lost contact earlier in the stage, and had no allies to help him chase down Vingegaard. He was eventually joined by Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious), David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) and Mattias Skjelmose (Lidl-Trek), but they could not make any significant dent in Vingegaard’s advantage.

Vingegaard crossed the summit of the Col de Marie Blanque with 1:07 over Pogačar’s group and maintained his lead on the descent to Laruns, where he finished 1:09 behind Hindley and moved up to second place overall, 47 seconds behind the new leader. Pogačar crossed the line in 14th place, 2:16 behind Hindley, and dropped to third place overall, 1:41 behind Hindley and 54 seconds behind Vingegaard.

The stage reshuffled the GC standings, with Hindley leading Vingegaard by 47 seconds and Pogačar by 1:41. Simon Yates moved up to fourth place at 2:02, followed by Lafay at 2:08 and Van Aert at 2:12. Alaphilippe climbed to seventh place at 2:23, while Uran slipped to eighth at 2:25. Bernal remained in ninth place at 2:29, while Bardet rounded out the top ten at 2:32.

Stage 5 Results and GC

The Tour de France continues on Thursday with another mountain stage in the Pyrenees, featuring the legendary climbs of the Col du Tourmalet and Luz Ardiden. The stage could see more fireworks among the GC contenders, as Vingegaard will try to defend his position and Pogacar will try to bounce back from his setback.

Book Review: The Road Book 1989

A review of the Road Book 1989, a comprehensive record of the 1989 Professional Road Racing Season

The Road Book 1989 is the inaugural cycling almanack in the Blue Series celebrating one of the most exciting years in the sport, the year of the closest Tour de France finish and the year the Berlin Wall fell.

When the first Road Book was published covering the 2018 season it immediately identified a gap in the market few realised was there and brought a unique level of insight into the sport of professional road cycling. With it though came one point of frustration – why did no one do this years before?

Well, the creators of the Road Book listened and the Blue Series of Road Books was born, with the flag dropping on 1989. A year that reminded American audiences, again, that the biggest sporting event in the world wasn’t the Super Bowl or the World Series, but the Tour de France.

As with the ‘Red Series’ the book is chock full of statistics and essays by those in the thick of the action. All the big races are in there and with each a description of what happened that day both on and off the bike, the latter a reminder that while professional road cycling can seem like a bubble it happens in public life goes on around it. Here’s an example:

Stage 4
17 June 1989
Liestyal-Bad Zurzach

166.5kmThe city of Liestal is famous for its Chienbase traditional parade held annually on the Sunday night after Ash Wednesday. Often characterised as a pagan spring festival, it features the startlingly dangerous-looking sight of people processing through the cobbled streets of the old town clutching huge flaming torches of strips of pine.

p 196

Of course 1989 is the year that a certain American with a French surname, Greg Lemond, broke French hearts in the most painful way when he bested French ‘national treasure’ the late Laurent Fignon by a mere eight seconds, on the final day, in Paris. Three hammer blows that struck deep into the French psyche. It was the closest the French have come to winning their home race in the 33 years since. It was also the year of the Tour de Trump versus the Tour de Rump, not a typo – see page 121.

A gallery of photographs from some of the best photographers in cycling bring 1989 to life and remind us that this was the era not just of steel frames but before shell helmets and the ubiquitous presence of sunglasses, when the suffering and glory was there for all to see. Everything changes, but nothing changes.

Happy Reading!

More details on the Road Book Series can be found on the official website here:

Tour de France 2023 – Stage 4

Stage 4: Dax to Nogaro, 181.8km

Philipsen Doubles up in Nogaro

Nogaro, Tuesday, July 4th  –Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) took his second win of the 2023 Tour de France, and his fourth Tour de France sprint finish in a row, in a finale littered with crashes.

Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) wins Stage 4 ahead of Caleb Ewen
Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) wins Stage 4 ahead of Caleb Ewen© A.S.O. / Charly Lopez

From the start in Dax —home town of the legendary sprinter André Darrigade, who won 22 Tour de France stages— to the finish on the Circuit Paul-Armagnac race track in Nogaro, everything pointed to a sprinter taking the spoils in stage 4, sandwiched between three gruelling stages in the Basque Country and the race’s first foray into the Pyrenees. The super-speedsters did not let this golden opportunity go to waste. Barrelling down the flat roads of the Landes and Gers departments, the sprinters’ teams kept a tight rein on a stage in which the breakaway took its sweet time to form.

The Norman duo of Benoît Cosnefroy and Anthony Delaplace took off with 86 kilometres to go and added some excitement to the race before getting reeled in about half an hour before the finish. The European champion, Fabio Jakobsen, was among those who hit the tarmac in the crash-marred finale, leaving Jasper Philipsen to surge to his fourth Tour de France bunch sprint win on a trot, one day after raising his arms in triumph in Bayonne and a year after coming out on top in Carcassonne and on the Champs-Élysées. It was a double whammy for the Belgian rider, who cemented his status as the king of sprints and wrested the green jersey from Victor Lafay, while Adam Yates stayed in yellow.

04/07/2023 - Tour de France 2023 - Etape 4 - Dax / Nogaro (181,8 km) - PHILIPSEN Jasper (ALPECIN-DECEUNINCK), EWAN Caleb (LOTTO DSTNY) © A.S.O./Pauline Ballet
04/07/2023 – Tour de France 2023 – Etape 4 – Dax / Nogaro (181,8 km) – PHILIPSEN Jasper (ALPECIN-DECEUNINCK), EWAN Caleb (LOTTO DSTNY) © A.S.O./Pauline Ballet
04/07/2023 – Tour de France 2023 – Stage 4 – Dax / Nogaro (181,8 km) – PHILIPSEN Jasper (ALPECIN-DECEUNINCK) – Stage Winner © A.S.O./Charly Lopez

Stage 4 Results and GC