May 28, 2024

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Tour 2023: Pogacar makes a hole with Vingegaard on downhill Puy de Dôme, triumphs over Refugee Woods

Tour 2023: Pogacar makes a hole with Vingegaard on downhill Puy de Dôme, triumphs over Refugee Woods

Michael Woods wins the Tour de France stage with a finish in the Puy de Dôme. The Canadian from Israel-Premier Tech was the first to summit the famous volcano after more than 182 kilometers, which was last on the Tour route in 1988. Woods was part of the 14-man Beast Tour. Eight minutes later, Tadej Bugar and Jonas Vinggaard had an exciting duel, in which the Slovenian was able to win back eight seconds. Vingegaard will enter his first rest day as captain.

The program included a mountain stage in the Massif Central, with climbs to the Côte du Lac de Vassivière (4.4 km at 4.0%), the Côte de Felletin (2.1 km at 5.2%) and the Côte de Pontaumur (3.3 km at 5.3%). These were all starters on the main list, the final climb to Puy de Dôme (13.3km, 7.7%). The last 5 kilometers of that “volcano” no longer drop below 11%, which is characteristic of heaviness.

It was a stage dedicated to Raymond Poulidor, a favorite of the French public, father-in-law of Adri and grandfather of David and Matthew van der Poel. The beginning was in Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat, where Bouldur had always lived and was also buried. Emotions were clearly visible in the MVDP when honoring his grandfather before the start. Poulidor also has a history with the Puy de Dôme. He fought in 1964 Pou Pou With Jack Antilles in a legendary duel on the volcano.

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Powless and Campenaerts in the lead group – Photo: Cor Vos

Campenaerts organizes an attack
The first striker that day was Victor Campinaerts (Lotto Destiny). Thus was the instigator of the day’s escape, which consisted of fourteen men. The peloton gave them space, because Clément Berthet (AG2R Citroën) was more than 26 minutes away from the yellow jersey Jonas Vingaard was the best rider. The polka-dot jersey’s (EF Education-EasyPost) Nelson Pauwels was there, too.

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Matej Mohorik (Bahrain victorious), Gorka Izaguirre, Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar), Michael Woods, Guillaume Boivin (Israel-Premier Tech), David de la Cruz, Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Kazakhstan), Jonas Abrahamsen, Jonas Gregaard (Uno X) and Share Pierre Latour and Mathieu Bourgodieu (TotalEnergies) too.

However, Soudal Quick-Step and Lidl-Trek didn’t let that happen. In the first hilly area, they set the pace, after which the stronger riders tried to jump into the lead group, but riders like Matthias Skilmos and Julian Alaphilippe didn’t get that space from Jumbo-Visma and his EF teammates from Pauwels. So the day’s commute can stretch more and more to more than nine minutes.

Photo: Cor Vos

forward quarter
It was Jumbo-Visma who took control of the peloton, but the Dutch team allowed the teams to grow by more than fourteen minutes. Powless took his mountain points on the first climb of the day, and then had a hold on the third climb of the day. The American got two more points on the Côte de Pontomore.

Just before that, the game started in the leading group, because Boivin moved away from the rest. It was the beginning of a period filled with attacks to dismantle the leadership group. The pair in particular tried to exploit their excess, but it was Jorgenson who single-handedly opened up a 30-second gap. Beyond that, he was restless.

Mohoric, Powless, De la Cruz and Burgaudeau found each other in pursuit. They cleared the other two escapees with more than 40 seconds to go and came within 15 seconds of Jorgenson, but the American from Movistar kept a tight pace and ran further. As a result, he started a minute behind the Baulse group in the Puy de Dome, while the Campinarts group followed at 1.45 minutes.

Matthew Jorgenson – Photo: Cor Vos

Fight to win the stage
With Jorgenson in front, the Puy de Dôme started very steep (13.3 km at 7.7%). The first five kilometers gradually increased by 7%, after that the really hard kilometers around the volcano started after an average stretch of about three kilometres. In that first segment, Jorgenson – bound for Jumbo-Visma for 2024 – takes his stand against Powless, Mohoric, Burgaudeau and the other chasers. In fact, run more to 1.20 minutes.

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However, in the last five steep kilometres, resolution dropped, with average grades of 11 to 12%. The spectators were not greeted at the Puy de Dôme, which made the silence particularly striking. Jorgenson maintained his pace, while Mohoric accelerated in the background. Behind him it was Woods who took the lead from the Campenaerts group and caught Mohoric in sight.

As a steep-wall specialist, Woods was like a fish in water, but with 2km to go the difference was 50 seconds between Jorgenson and Mohoric-Woods. However, the teams got smaller and smaller, especially as Woods climbed over Mohoric. Then the Canadian put Jorgonson on the horizon and did not let him miss this opportunity.

The curtain fell on the American about 500 meters from the finish. Woods cornered him and then managed to cruise to a stage victory in the Puy du Dome with force majeure. The parked Mathieu Jorgenson was passed at the extreme end by Pierre Latour (2nd) and Matej Mouhorek (3rd).

Michael Woods win on stage – Photo: Cor Vos

A battle between the Knights of the Rank
The peloton allowed the difference with the escapees to increase to over sixteen minutes, but as Puy de Dôme approached, trains began to form and the difference slowly decreased. As a result, spectators put up a two-front battle on the final climb. It was Jumbo-Visma who set the pace on foot with Dylan van Baarle, Wout van Aert and Wilco Kelderman. At that point, he was already too fast for Ben O’Connor, his No. 11 in the standings.

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Even before the steepest part of the climb, the UAE looked to be taking the lead in the group favourites, but due to a rebound from Kelderman, Sepp Koss and yellow jersey Wengard fell into the lead going into the difficult hole. Only Tadezh Bogar, Adam Yates, Simon Yates, Guy Hindley, Carlos Rodriguez and Tom Pidcock could follow Cos up there, although Hindley and Adam Yates had to get rid of him quickly afterwards.

Then the pace slowed a bit as Koss had to pull away, allowing Hindley and Adam to get back up. Then his brother Simon took over, but the first real acceleration came 1.5 kilometers from the finish in Bogar. Vingegaard was at the wheel right away, but had to sit first. Then the Slovenian also sat down, but managed to make a gap with the Dane from the saddle. The gap fluctuated around 10 metres, but it was hard for Vingegaard to get close.

Pogačar picked up steam in the final kilometer and rode little by little from the yellow jersey, who picked his own pace in the steepest sections of the Puy de Dôme. However, Vingegaard had to watch as Pogačar was getting further and further away from him. The UAE leader sprinted to the finish and eventually regained 8 seconds back on the leader Jumbo Visma.

Jonas Vingaard makes his way to the finish – Photo: Cor Vos

Pogačar continues to catch up with Vingegaard
Vingegaard therefore takes another blow in the general classification, but retains his leader’s yellow jersey. With a lead of 17 seconds on Pogačar, the Dane is entering the first rest day in this Tour de France. Guy Hindley finished third overall with a time of 2.40 minutes from the yellow, followed by Carlos Rodriguez (4.22), Adam Yates (4.39) and Simon Yates (4.44). Beyond that, the differences are greater than five minutes.