Evenepoel reigns supreme in the realm of the Mountain King
Remco Evenepoel (Soudal – Quick Step (WT)) took the spotlight off the Jumbo Visma Show with a superb solo win at La Cruz de Linares, finishing 4’44” ahead of Damiano Caruso (Bahrain – Victorious). Andreas Kron (»Lotto Dstny) took third at 5’10 just beating Max Poole (Team dsm – firmenich).
Video Highlights of Stage 18 (video copyright La Vuelta)
Geoffrey Soupe (TotalEnergies) served up a photo finish with Orluis Aular (Caja Rural – Seguros RGA) in Oliva before taking the win. Third spot went to Edward Theuns (Lidl – Trek). Favourite to take a third win was Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck) but he became a bit scrambled in the final turn at 300m to go and finished fifth behind Juan Sebastián Molano (UAE Team Emirates).
Making history as the youngest rider to ever lead a Grand Tour, Lenny Martinez (Groupama-FDJ) retained La Roja and will defend it on Saturday on the infamous slopes up Xorret de Cati.
Kuss goes solo to win at the Observatorio Astrofisico de Javalambre
Pico del Buitre. Observatorio Astrofísico de Javalambre, Thursday, August 31st 2023 – An outstanding stage 6 of La Vuelta delivered historic results at the Observatorio Astrofisico de Javalambre. In a rare moment in the limelight the American climber Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma), participating in his third Grand Tour of the year, was the strongest from an impressive breakaway to take victory ahead of Lenny Martinez (Groupama-FDJ).
INDIVIDUAL GENERAL CLASSIFICATION
1. Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) in 4h27’29’’
1. Lenny Martinez (Groupama-FDJ) in 21h40’35’’
2. Lenny Martinez (Groupama-FDJ) at 26’’
2. Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) at 08’’
3. Romain Bardet (Team dsm-firmenich) at 31’’
3. Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates) at 51’’
At 20 years old Martinez became the youngest leader in the race’s history. After joining a large breakaway, the young man took full advantage of the support of Rudy Molard and Michael Storer up front, then finished it off wonderfully by claiming second place at the top of the Pico del Buitre. Next to the Javalambre Observatory, a new star is born on Thursday.
It is also the second leader’s jersey for Groupama – FDJ at a Grand Tour this season after Bruno Armirail’s pink on the last Giro.
Primoz Roglic and Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) ganged up against Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step) to gain 30 seconds on the Belgian star. La Vuelta 23 started less than a week ago and the GC battle is already in full swing!
Jonas Vingegaard secures second Tour de France win as Jordi Meeus takes the Finale in Paris
Paris Champs-Élysées, Sunday, July 23rd –Jordi Meeus (Bora-hansgrohe) won the conclusive stage of the 110th Tour de France in Paris/Champs-Élysées in a bunch gallop that saw Jasper Philipsen and Dylan Groenewegen rounding out the podium in a very tight finish.
Jonas Vingegaard became the 14th twice winner of the Tour de France, the first to achieve the Critérium du Dauphiné-Tour de France double since Geraint Thomas in 2018. Tadej Pogacar attacked on the Champs-Élysées but remained second overall. The same two riders finishing first and second two years in a row didn’t happen since Bernard Hinault and Joop Zoetemelk in 1978-79. The same two riders in the first two places at the end three years running is a first in the history of the race.
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.
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.
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.
Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) efforts to claw back seconds on his Danish rival looked in vain after Jonas Vingegaard rode home a 1’28” gain in the Stage 16 Individual Time Trial. It was Jumbo Visma’s first stage win despite Vingegaard leading the race since Stage 6.
The stage was a 22.4km individual time trial that featured a flat and fast start, a downhill section through Sallanches, a power section on a false flat to Domancy, and a final climb to the finish line in Combloux. The climb was the Category 2 Côte de Domancy, which was 2.5km long with an average gradient of 9.4%. The stage was expected to favor the GC contenders over the time trial specialists, especially those who could handle the steep slopes and the change of pace.
The stage was won by the yellow jersey holder Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma), who produced a blistering ride to take a giant step towards being crowned champion for a second consecutive year. The Danish rider flew out of the blocks and never let up, setting the fastest times at all three checkpoints and finishing in 32min 36sec. He was 1min 38sec faster than his closest rival Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), who caught his two-minute man Carlos Rodriguez (Ineos Grenadiers) but could not match Vingegaard’s pace. It was Vingegaard’s first time trial victory in the Tour de France and arguably the greatest performance of his life.
The second place on the stage went to Pogačar, who had to settle for second best after dominating the race last year. The Slovenian rider still put in a solid effort, but he was clearly not at his best and lost time on every section of the course. He now trails Vingegaard by 1min 48sec in the overall standings, with only two mountain stages and a flat finale left to try and close the gap.
The third place on the stage went to Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), who showed his versatility once again by delivering a strong time trial after two second spots earlier in the race. The Belgian rider was still one minute 13 seconds seconds slower than Pogačar at the finish line and a 2’51” behind Vingegaard.
The top five
The top five on the stage were:
UAE Team Emirates
Wout van Aert
UAE Team Emirates
The top five in the overall standings after stage 16 were:
First Tour de France Stage win for Super Domestique Poels
Stage 15: Les Gets les Portes du Soleil to Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc , 179km
Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc, Sunday, July 16thBahrain – Victorious’ Wout Poels finally claimed a stage win at the Tour de France at the age of 35. The Dutchman, who has dedicated his career in the service of greats like Chris Froome is no stranger to being at the front of a race, just not so often come the finish. This day he was all alone on the line after dropping and holding off Wout Van Aert (Jumbo Visma) on the slopes of Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc. It is his best result since winning Liège-Bastogne-Liège winner 2016. His previous top result at Le Tour was third at Andorra in 2021.
Wout Poels, Stage Winner: “I really love this moment. I always dreamt of winning a stage in the Tour de France. Obviously, with Gino [Mäder’s death in June], it has a special meaning. It means a lot to win a stage in the Tour. It makes me super happy. I only started to believe in it in the final kilometres. I had to go full gas. It was amazing, amazing. Gino was helping me today. I thought I had the perfect approach to the Tour. I skipped the Dauphiné but I did pretty well at the Tour of Slovenia [9th] and the team took me to the Tour. They believed I could perform in the third week… and here I am. I really enjoyed my time with Team Sky. It was an incredible experience, but yet I never could fight for stage win. I could do it today and I’m very happy.”
There was barely enough tine to show Poels cross the line before attention was diverted seven minutes down slope to the slugging match between Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogacar. The Slovenian just could not shake off the Dane and must have felt the fates were against him when each attack was stymied by a quick response. At one point Pogacar had two lieutenants, Adan Yates and March Soler while Vingegaard had none but it still wasn’t enough. The rivals finally reached the line almost neck and neck and there was no change to the 10″ advantage held by Vingegaard on the GC.
Jonas Vingegaard, Maillot Jaune: “It has been yet another battle between the two of us. I guess it keeps getting better and better for the spectators! The team felt pretty good today, although we of course had this crash that affected some of my teammates. I hope everyone involved is well. Today I felt more in control than in previous days. We can be happy about the stage. I’d like to tell the spectators to enjoy the race and be there to cheer for us without standing on the road or pouring beers on us. Please, just enjoy the race. I’m happy there is a rest day coming. It will be very good for the legs. What will I do? Just chill and relax!”
The Trouble with Crowds
Fan related incidents that bring down riders are still mercifully uncommon but unhappily an over-enthusiastic selfie taker brought down a large number of riders at the 49km mark with Nathan van Hooydonck (Jumbo-Visma) and Egan Bernal (Ineos) involved. While van Hooydonck lay motionless for a while there was much relief when he was shown sitting up. Both riders finished the day.
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.
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
VINGEGAARD BEATS POGACAR ATOP JOUX-PLANE 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.
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.