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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, July 9, 2023

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2022 Tour de France | 2023 Giro d'Italia

To me there is no picture so beautiful as smiling, bright-eyed, happy children; no music so sweet as their clear and ringing laughter. - P. T. Barnum

TDF volume 1

Bill & Carol McGann's book The Story of the Tour de France, Vol 1: 1903 - 1975 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 eight reports

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

Mark Cavendish crashed out of the Tour

Cavendish's Team Astana Qazaqstan posted this short note.

Unfortunately, Mark Cavendish was forced to abandon the Tour de France after a crash with 60 km to go in Stage 8. He is on the way to the hospital for medical checking. More updates to follow…

Mark Cavendish just after crashing

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Here's the stage eight report from Jonas Vingegaard's & Wout van Aert's Team Jumbo-Visma:

Wout van Aert has finished third in the eighth stage of the Tour de France. The 28-year-old Belgian had to hold back for the start of his sprint and could not pass eventual stage winner Mads Pedersen and Jasper Philipsen. Jonas Vingegaard retained the yellow jersey the day before the mountain stage to the Puy de Dôme.

Jonas Vingegaard safely finished stage eight. Sirotti photo

"It's always frustrating when you can't reward the team's hard work”, said Van Aert. Team Jumbo-Visma kept an eye on the three escapees throughout the day and, thanks in part to a strong lead from Nathan Van Hooydonck, caught them just after the final climb. Christophe Laporte then appeared to put Van Aert in an excellent position for a sprint. However, the Belgian time trial champion had to hold back for a moment and lost the momentum.

Van Aert was honest about the moment. "I waited a little too long. Mathieu van der Poel and Philipsen passed me when Christophe dropped, and I had to brake. Christophe probably expected me to pass him on the right while I was on his left. After that, I came up just a bit short, unfortunately. I had the legs to win.”

"I am happy to have crossed the finish line safely, although we would have liked to have seen Wout win”, Vingegaard said. He now shifts his focus to Sunday's stage. "In June, I did a reconnaissance on the Puy de Dôme. It's a steep climb, and it will be a crucial moment in this Tour. I hope I feel good. We will prepare to perfection.”

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Here's the Tour report from Team INEOS Grenadiers:

Carlos Rodriguez moved up to fourth place overall at the Tour de France following a flat-out finish to stage eight.

A bunch kick decided the stage in Limoges, while some bad luck for a GC rival saw Rodriguez elevated a place after he finished safely in the bunch. Tom Pidcock was also present, leading home the team, to remain in ninth place overall.

Tom Pidcock before the stage start. Sirotti photo

The pair continue to be 3:30 and 4:43 back on leader Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) respectively. The yellow jersey's team pushed the tempo hard on the final fourth-category climb of the day in a bid to jettison some of the sprinters in the bunch.

At the finish it was Mads Pedersen (Lidl-Trek) who prevailed, with the Dane holding on after a long-range sprint to the line.

With around five kilometres to go Jonathan Castroviejo was able to narrowly avoid a crash in the bunch. The crash held up Simon Yates (Jayco AlUla) which allowed Rodriguez to jump up a place ahead of Sunday's summit finish test.

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And here's the report from David Gaudu's Team Groupama-FDJ:

On the eve of a much-anticipated summit finish on the Puy de Dôme, the peloton still had to cover a tricky stage, this Saturday, towards Limoges and from Libourne, birthplace of Quentin Pacher. While a tough sprint concluded the day as expected, with the victory of Mads Pedersen, David Gaudu (20th) managed to finish within the main peloton, surrounded by Quentin Pacher (17th) and Valentin Madouas (22nd) until the very last metres of stage 8. The Breton will tackle the old volcano from Auvergne tomorrow as seventh overall.

Thibaut Pinot and David Gaudu before the stage start. Sirotti photo

Unlike the day before towards Bordeaux, many riders aimed for the breakaway on Saturday towards Limoges, and the race at the start proved completely different. A fierce fight and many attacks therefore took place from Libourne, but in the end, only three riders were authorized to hit the front, after twenty kilometers: Tim Declercq (Soudal-Quick Step), Anthony Delaplace (Arkéa -Samsic) and Anthony Turgis (TotalEnergies).

“We took the start thinking that there could be two possible scenarios: a big fight at the beginning to join the breakaway, in which case it would have been a very strong break, or a final sprint”, explained Philippe Mauduit. “The peloton chose the second option”. The sprinters’ teams, in particular, were quite satisfied with the scenario, and therefore controlled everything once the trio was gone. “We were expecting the race to be a bit livelier, in which case I could have gone for it, but when we saw that there were only three riders in front, we preferred to stay in the peloton with David to protect him,” said Quentin Pacher. The bunch maintained the leading men at just five minutes, then logically got closer on the second, harder half of the course. As usual, the tension increased in the last fifty kilometres, and even further before the last two climbs located in the final.

In the lead, Turgis tried to make his attempt last as long as possible. However, he was caught shortly after the top of the last hill, where the yellow jersey team set an extremely high tempo. Heading to Limoges, Simon Yates, fourth in the general classification, was caught in a crash. Although being quite reduced, the bunch remained very nervous for the slight uphill finish. After one kilometre averaging 4%, Mads Pedersen eventually took the sprint ahead of Jasper Philipsen, while David Gaudu made sure not to take any split by taking twentieth place on the day, three positions behind Quentin Pacher.

“I had to protect David in the final climbs and all the way to Limoges, so I took the opportunity to get involved in the sprint a bit”, explained the man from Libourne. “It was still a sprint for big guys, not necessarily for the punchers, but it’s always nice to see the head of the peloton a bit”. “The positive point is that we were not put in danger and that David was well protected by his mates”, added Philippe Mauduit. “Another day is done. These stages are still stressful, things can always happen, but we managed to get through it without a hitch”.

On Saturday evening, David Gaudu therefore still sits in seventh place of the general classification, which could change tomorrow on the slopes of the iconic Puy de Dôme (12.6 km at 7.8%). “We’ve been hearing about this stage for a while, and it’s going to be historical no matter what,” said Quentin. “If it’s hot like today, it’s going to be epic. Before the rest day, we can expect a great fight.” “It will be a special day with the Puy de Dôme climb, which is something new for this whole generation of riders, given that it has been more than thirty years since a race has finished up there”, concluded Philippe Mauduit. The last time the Tour stopped there, in 1988, Johnny Weltz took victory and Marc Madiot was still in the peloton.

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