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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, July 23, 2023

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2022 Tour de France | 2023 Giro d'Italia

Those who'll play with cats must expect to be scratched. - Miguel de Cervantes


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 20 reports

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

Here's the report from stage winner Tadej Pogacar's UAE Team Emirates:

The penultimate day of the 2023 Tour de France saw the riders compete in a short but intense stage, covering only 133.5km from Belfort to Le Markstein, featuring 6 GPM.

The entire team worked together to manage the pace and control breakaways. It was indeed on the last of the six climbs that Pogačar and Yates showcased their talent. At 13km from the finish line, the Slovenian attacked first, followed only by Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) and Gall (AG2R Citroen Team). The trio quickly caught up with the last escapees and pulled away, creating a gap.

Behind them, Adam Yates and his twin brother Simon (Team Jayco AlUla) detached from the chasing group and caught up with the leading three with just 5km to go.

It was the British rider representing UAE Team Emirates who took the lead and led the final kilometer for his teammate Pogačar, who burned past everyone in the last 200 meters, crossing the finish line first and securing the 43rd seasonal victory for the Emirati team.

Tadej Pogacar wins stage 20. Sirotti photo

For Pogačar, this is his second stage win in this Tour de France, and tomorrow he will step on the second spot on the final podium, also wearing the white jersey for the best young rider.

Completing the final podium tomorrow will be Yates himself, who had already won the first stage of the Grande Boucle.

Pogačar: “Today, I finally felt like myself again, and it was wonderful to feel good from start to finish and be able to push all the way to the finish line after the tough days I’ve had. In the finale, I waited for Adam to join our group, and I must thank him because he launched me well, making it a bit easier to tackle the finish even though I was a bit nervous. The whole team did a great job today and throughout all the stages. Being with them during these weeks is the most beautiful thing I take home.”

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

On the penultimate day of the Tour de France, Jonas Vingegaard has just missed out on a chance to make his upcoming victory in the general classification even more prestigious. The Dane of Team Jumbo-Visma was forced to concede defeat to Tadej Pogacar in a sprint at the end of a climbing stage. Normally, Vingegaard will win the Tour de France for the second time on Sunday.

In the Vosges, the fifth mountain range on the route of this Tour de France, the organisers had prepared a difficult stage. With more than three thousand metres of climbing and six categorised climbs, the peloton had to deal with a challenging course for the penultimate stage. Ultimately, the top riders in the general classification had to fight for victory in a sprint on the final stage. Pogacar, among others, proved to be a little more nimble than Vingegaard.

However, Vingegaard will be wearing the yellow jersey for the second time when he crosses the finish line in Paris on Sunday. "It's an indescribable feeling. We have to be careful and not do anything crazy tomorrow”, said Vingegaard, who was as down-to-earth as ever. "But now I can say that the win is almost certain. It's great to take my second overall victory in the Tour de France. I can hardly believe it. I enjoyed the stage today as I have every day of this Tour. I felt good on the bike.”

One more day to go for Vingegaard. Sirotti photo

Vingegaard praised the performance of Team Jumbo-Visma. "I could never have done this without this fantastic team. They were there for me every day. They gave it their all for three weeks. I am so happy for all of us. Once again, it feels like a team victory. So it is not difficult for me to know what my best memory of this Tour de France is. For me, it was the way we worked as a team. We had a plan, and we executed it well every day. Everything went according to plan”, a visibly pleased Vingegaard said.

"It was a great battle between Tadej and myself”, the 26-year-old Dane reflected. "We rode on the edge for three weeks. It must have been lovely to watch. It was fun for us too. It was a fight I will remember for the rest of my life. Tadej is a wonderful person. Since the start in Bilbao, we have given each other a hard time, but off the bike, we get on well. I hope we can have many more duels like this in the future.”


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Here's the report from Jai Hindley's Team Bora-hansgrohe:

The last mountain stage before the Tour heads to Paris rounded up three hard weeks of racing. After several attacks, a breakaway formed at the front part of the first climb of the day. On the penultimate climb, the bunch started to increase the pace and on the last ascent, Tadej Pogacar attacked together with Jonas Vingegaard and Felix Gall. Jai Hindley was riding in a chasing group with Carlos Rodriguez, pulling hard to limit the deficit. The Pogacar group overtook the remaing riders of the break and was later joined by the Yates brothers at the front. In the end Pogacar took the win while Jai finished in 11th place to retain his 7th position in GC.

Jai Hindley racing in stage 17. Sirotti photo

“It has been three weeks of ups and downs, but I think we can walk away with no regrets. I took a stage win and a Yellow Jersey and that’s not too bad. I didn’t know what to expect regarding the GC but I was going well and was in the mix. Then I suffered some illness and a crash and that really affected me. Still, I enjoyed every day of the race and now I am looking forward to Paris, and in the end I’m satisfied with my first Tour de France.” – Jai Hindley


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And here's the Tour de France stage 20 report from Team Soudal Quick-Step:

Stage 20 of the Tour de France was held in the Jura, where a total of six classified climbs – including the Ballon d’Alsace, Petit Ballon and Col du Platzerwasel – combined for another full gas day in the saddle, which in the first part was animated again by the one and only Julian Alaphilippe, who clocked up more than 800 kilometers at the front since the Bilbao Grand Départ.

Here's what the riders face at the end of stage 20.

Soudal Quick-Step’s charismatic Frenchman joined the breakaway formed on the first slopes of the stage before launching his move on the technical descent, where he forced a selection. That attack saw Julian – one of the most combative riders of this edition – remain off the front together with a small group until 80 kilometers to go, when the yellow jersey group came back and the stage basically started again from scratch.

The main story was written on the last ascent of the day, where five men got away and ended up fighting for victory in Le Markstein Fellering, Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) being the one who prevailed there. From here, the riders will now travel to Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, which Sunday afternoon gets to host the start of the final stage.

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