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Thursday, July 13, 2023

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2022 Tour de France | 2023 Giro d'Italia

Living in the lap of luxury isn't bad except that you never know when luxury is going to stand up. - Orson Welles


Tour de France: 2022

Bill & Carol McGann’s book The Story of the Tour de France, 2022: The Fastest Tour Ever is available as in both 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 11 reports

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

Here's the report from stage 11 second-place Dylan Groenewegen's Team Jayco-AlUla:

Dylan Groenewegen went agonizingly close to his first stage win of the 2023 Tour de France as stage 11 came down to another hotly contested sprint battle.

The five-time Tour stage winner almost made it six, but was eventually forced to settle for second place as the day reached a sprinting crescendo in Moulins.

Dylan Groenewegen finished just behind winner Jasper Philipsen. Sirotti photo

Heavy rain made for a tricky finale and as the peloton raced under the one kilometre to go banner Groenewegen looked to be out of contention outside the top-20 wheels, but a monster pull from teammate Luka Mezgec expertly guided the Dutchman into position at the head of the pack.

Groenewegen then waited for his moment before launching his drive for the line with around 250 metres to go and his fierce acceleration immediately opened up a gap. However, Jasper Philipsen proved to be the fastest once again as he jumped off the wheel of Groenewegen to take the stage victory.

Dylan Groenewegen:
“Yeah it’s second, that’s not what we came for. This morning I was really sure that we’d go for the victory, but in the end, somebody was faster. I think as always, we are really good on the front, so we save a lot of energy there, then we came from really far, but I trusted Luka and he brought me totally to the front.

With 400 to go I was thinking it’s maybe a little bit too early, then I went behind Kristoff and I was waiting for his sprint, but he didn’t accelerate really fast, so I go by myself. It was a long way, but I was thinking ‘yeah, today is our day’, but in the end somebody was better.

I have really good confidence in Luka and he showed again that he is one of the best lead out men in the world, so we are a really good combination.”

Mat Hayman (Sport Director):
“With the tricky final like that with the rain coming in at the end, it made it very tricky, but hats off to the boys. It was hectic there, they kept their cool, they were where they needed to be and we wanted to give Dylan some open road and open up, and he got that chance today and that’s all you can ask for.

We’re disappointed, of course we’re disappointed, but when you get beaten like that by someone who is better there’s not much you can do, but we gave him every opportunity.”

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

Wout van Aert has finished ninth in the bunch sprint on stage eleven of the Tour de France. Team Jumbo-Visma kept Jonas Vingegaard out of trouble all day. He remains in the lead of the general classification.

The 180-kilometre stage to Moulins was a stage for the sprinters. Three breakaways escaped the peloton but were caught well before the finish. In the final, the Dutch team was well in front. After Van Aert got boxed in, Jasper Philipsen took the stage win. "Unfortunately, I was never able to start the sprint", a disappointed Van Aert said.

The 28-year-old Belgian continued: "We knew we had to be in position early with all the corners in the last few kilometres. It worked perfectly until the final kilometre. Riders passed me from behind, and I got boxed in."

Merijn Zeeman also saw this from the team manager's car. "Christophe and Wout concentrated on the sprint today. It was going very well until Wout got boxed in."

However, the sportive director was pleased with the work of his riders. "We were always in the front row with Jonas. We had to be because the peloton got slightly stressed in the last sixty kilometres. The wind picked up, and many teams wanted to move further up the front. When it started to rain, we held our breath for a while, but fortunately, we finished the stage well."

Jonas Vingegaard finished seventh in stage 11. Sirotti photo

"The team did a great job again today", yellow jersey wearer Vingegaard added. "They kept me safe until the last three kilometres. Then, of course, you must be careful and ensure you don't lose any time. We did that well today. Tomorrow we have another difficult hilly stage on the programme. We will have to start out on top of things."


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Here's the report from Fabio Jakobsen's Team Soudal Quick-Step:

Rémi Cavagna was in the spotlight at the start of the day, as he was given a warm welcome by the fans in his hometown Clermont-Ferrand, from where stage 11 of the Grande Boucle started. It was a special moment for the French ITT Champion, who is riding the Tour for the second time in his career, before he set out together with his Soudal Quick-Step teammates on an 180km journey to Moulins.

It was a straightforward stage for the peloton, who easily controlled the three-man breakaway, which was overhauled in the last 15 kilometers, in part thanks to a solid job of our squad. European Champion Fabio Jakobsen was again there, having been brought to the front by his lead-out train, but the effects of last week’s crash could still be felt and he didn’t have the power to fight for a good result on the stage won by Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck).

Fabio Jakobsen heads to the start of stage 11. Sirotti photo

“Today was a big chance for the sprinters, unfortunately it wasn’t Fabio’s day yet. It seems that the crash had a bigger impact, with the energy that the healing takes, but also not sleeping well had an impact on him. He couldn’t turn the speed that he normally can. It won’t be easy now with the mountains that are coming, but we will see things go day by day. He was disappointed, of course, as he knows he is capable of a lot more, but because of the circumstances it doesn’t work out at the moment”, explained sports director Tom Steels.


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And here’s the Tour de France stage 11 report from Thibaut Pinot’s Team Groupama-FDJ:

On stage 11 of the Tour de France this Wednesday, the sprinters got another opportunity to battle. For the fourth time since the Grand Départ from Bilbao, Jasper Philipsen beat his opponents, after what was a quiet day with just three men up the road. David Gaudu finished in the peloton and maintained his ninth place overall. The Groupama-FDJ team is now looking forward to the second part of the week.

Despite a hilly profile in the first half of the race, the suspense did not last long leaving Clermont-Ferrand on Wednesday. Only three men established the day’s breakaway, and from then on, everyone could expect a long, monotonous chase before a bunch sprint in Moulins, 180 kilometres further on. Besides, Daniel Oss, Andrey Amador and Matis Louvel never had more than four minutes of a lead up front, as the sprinters’ teams were not willing to spend too much energy chasing. About fifty kilometres from the goal, only the Italian kept the attempt going, and the peloton just kept him thirty seconds ahead during the last hour of racing. As soon as the final climb was passed, and after a potentially tricky change of direction, the peloton kept a solid pace while the nervousness increased.

“We had to stay united like we did the previous days”, explained Kevin Geniets. “Today, the goal was to avoid risks and splits. Everyone did their share of work, and we were always in the front positions. I started working a little earlier than expected and tried to be up there all day”.

Thibaut Pinot before the race start. Sirotti photo

In the last hour of racing, the rain also appeared on the course while the last man standing from the breakaway was caught before the last ten kilometres. “Kevin and Lars first did a great job, then it was very nervous with the rain”, said Olivier. “With Stefan, we tried to approach the three-kilometre banner as well as possible so that David was in the best position at that point. We fought for positions, and it went well. There is always tension, adrenaline, and you have to stay focused to not make a mistake. It’s a bit chaotic sometimes but that’s how it is”. “The final could be tricky, but the team handled it well”, added Philippe Mauduit. “Kevin, Lars, Stefan and Olivier all did a great work to put David in good conditions, and it went well”.

As a consequence, David Gaudu and Thibaut Pinot safely finished in the main peloton in Moulins, thus remaining ninth and fifteenth before a tough second part of the week. After turning 27 on Wednesday, Valentin Madouas can’t wait for the following stages. “I enjoyed today, and we rested well for tomorrow”, he said. “The goal for the team will be to be in the breakaway. We have to go for a stage victory, and there is plenty to do tomorrow”. “The second part of the week will be important,” summed up Philippe to conclude.

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