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Saturday, July 15, 2023

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2022 Tour de France | 2023 Giro d'Italia

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Story of the Tour de France Volume 2

Bill and Carol McGann's book The Story of the Tour de France, Vol 2: 1976 - 2018 is available in print, Kindle eBook & Audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Tour de France stage 13 reports

We posted the race organizer's report with the results.

Here’s the report from stage winner Michal Kwiatkowski's Team INEOS Grenadiers:

A performance for the ages from Michal Kwiatkowaki saw him win solo atop Grand Colombier to record his second Tour de France stage victory.

The INEOS Grenadier attacked from a breakaway on the final climb to secure a sensational win, finishing nearly a minute ahead of the chasing pack.

Kwiatkowski was part of a strong breakaway which escaped the peloton in the early stages, staying clear under a tough pace from behind to hold off the bunch before the remains of the group fought it out for the win.

He accelerated clear of the break with 11 kilometres remaining, riding solo to victory and repelling the chasing lead group as well as the GC group behind to secure his second Tour stage victory.

Michal Kwiatkowski wins atop the Grand Colombier. Sirotti photo

Elsewhere, Tom Pidcock (fifth) and Carlos Rodriguez (11th) stayed in contention from the GC group as they put in a superb climbing performance in a rapid finale behind.

Pidcock moves closer to seventh placed Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) while Rodriguez retains fourth on GC despite, losing just 15 seconds to Jai Hindley (Bora Hansgrohe) in third.

Three Grenadiers in the first 11 places ensures the team also top the best team classification heading into two more tough mountain stages before the second rest day.

Michal Kwiatkowski:
"I had 18 friends in the breakaway and then a nice advtabage on the final climb. It was a crazy experience. When I got into the breakaway I thought that this was maybe just a free ticket into the bottom of the climb or something like that but I never thought that this group would fight for the stage win because UAE were pulling pretty hard at the back.

"To be honest it’s not easy to chase 19 guys on the flat…it’s just crazy. This morning we just really didn’t want to miss any big breakaway - like any day. We tried to go in the big moves; you know when people are moving on the flat that there might be nobody happy to chase with UAE and perhaps there were just to many guys in the front and I just found probably the best legs that I’ve ever had in my life…I didn’t believe that’s possible but here I am.

"Winning on the top of a mountain like Grand Colombier - obviously I had memories with Egan Bernal here thinking about quitting the race which he unfortunately did later on - so that was bad memories for us. With Richard that was a different feeling - full gas from start to finish and we could enjoy the last 15km together but today the last effort was probably one of the hardest of my life but I managed myself well, paced myself well and that was going to be a long effort. Without them (fans) I guess that wouldn’t have been possible.

"I didn’t have the car behind me on the last climb and I couldn’t really hear what was happening on the radio so the fans were amazing  and driving me to the finish. An amazing feeling."

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Here's the stage 13 report from GC leader Jonas Vingegaard's Team Jumbo-Visma:

Jonas Vingegaard has finished fourth in the thirteenth stage of the Tour de France. The 26-year-old Dane came under pressure from Tadej Pogacar in the final kilometre of the tough Grand Colombier. Vingegaard limited the damage in the last metres and will start the Alpine stages in the yellow jersey. Michal Kwiatkowski, who was part of the breakaway, won the stage.

Jonas Vingegaard will start stage fourteen in yellow. Sirotti photo

After a fast opening stage, nineteen riders escaped from the peloton. Team Jumbo-Visma handed control to UAE Team Emirates and never tried to seize the initiative until the final climb.

"We didn't mind if the breakaway went for the win”, Vingegaard said.

Pogacar's teammate Adam Yates attacked on the Grand Colombier. A strong Sepp Kuss closed the gap for Vingegaard before Pogacar's expected attack in the closing stages. Vingegaard jumped on his rival's wheel but eventually lost a few seconds. The Jumbo-Visma leader was not too upset. "This stage didn't suit me. I am happy that I was able to limit the gap. I felt strong, and the team rode excellently.”

Vingegaard is looking forward to the Alps. "We will face more and longer climbs in the coming days. That’s more to my liking, and I am still improving. I am happy to be wearing the yellow jersey, and I am happy with my current form. I'm going to give everything next week. We'll see in Paris if that's enough to win the general classification.”

Kuss stayed with his leader until the final kilometre and spoke of a successful day for the yellow and black team. "It was an explosive climb, but we had everything under control. We expected it to come down to the last few metres, and that’s what happened. There was no need for us to take the initiative today. We can be happy with where we are. It will be a matter of finding the right moments.”

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Here’s the report from Tadej Pogacar’s UAE Team Emirates:

Tadej Pogačar succeeded in sprinting with an impressive acceleration and speed in the final 400 meters of the summit arrival of stage 13 of the Tour de France.

After 17.7 km of the climb of the Grand Colombier (average of 7%), which was led by UAE Team Emirates’s riders (Soler, Grossschartner, Majka and Adam Yates) . The Slovenian champion still had enough strength in his legs to make a move and pull-out a gap of 4” on Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma).

Tadej Pogacar climbing to the finish with Jonas Vingegaard on his wheel. Sirotti photo

Pogačar was 3rd in the stage, obtaining a time bonus of 4”, preceded for 50” on the finish line only by two members of the main breakaway of the day, namely the winner Michał Kwiatkowski (Ineos-Grenadiers) and the second place Maxim Van Gils (Lotto Dstny).

In the top ten of the stage there was also Adam Yates, 10th at 1’18” from the winner.

In the general classification, Pogačar is at 9” from the leader Vingegaard and he still wears the white jersey; Adam Yates is 6th at 5’04”.

Pogačar: “Kwiatkowski was amazing today, but in the end the day was successful for us as well and we took a bunch of seconds, so it was a good stage with a brilliant team performance: everybody in the team can take a lot of confidence and extra motivation from today.

"The Tour is still long, this situation is good for us, now we will go day by day and try to chip away at the seconds.”

Stage 14 will kick-off from Annemasse and will reach Morzine les Portes du Soleil over 151, 8 km.

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And here's the report from stage 13 second-place Maxim Van Gils' Team Lotto Dstny:

Tour debutant Maxim Van Gils has conquered a second place atop the Grand Colombier today. The young Belgian was part of an early breakaway which detached itself from the peloton after a furious start. On the brutal 17 kilometres long climb to the finish, only two riders could stay ahead of the GC riders. Kwiatkowski soloed to the stage win, Van Gils finished at 47” from the Polish rider and could just hold off Pogaçar and Vingegaard.

Maxim Van Gils climbing up the Grand Colombier to the finish. Sirotti photo

“When I eventually got away in that sizeable front group, I tried to save as much energy as possible for the ascent of the Grand Colombier. Once on the climb, it was an ‘all out’ effort until the top. Soon, only the strong climbers remained at the front and when Kwiatkowski accelerated, I was forced to ride my own pace. When I heard that the GC guys were nearing, I realised it would be a difficult task. Luckily I had some energy left and could hold on to second place.”

With a crash on stage two, Van Gils did not get off to a great start of the Tour. Now, the youngster impresses. “That crash was a pity but today and yesterday I proved that I’m riding a solid first Tour. Is this stage a missed opportunity? Maybe but I need to be honest that one guy was better today. But with these legs there might be some more chances because I really love the Alps”, concludes Maxim Van Gils.

For Lotto Dstny, it was a day of mixed feelings as Caleb Ewan was forced to abandon the Tour. After struggling with fatigue for several days, the Australian fought hard but eventually had to give up during stage thirteen of the Tour. “Leaving the Tour is a real shame. I want to express my gratitude to the team for their big support and I hope they can still show some nice things in the stages to come”, concludes Caleb Ewan.

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