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.
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.
How it happened
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.
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.
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.
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.