Tadej Pogacar reduces Vingegaard's lead on the Puy de Dôme

Road 09/07/23 18:42 Migue A.

A somewhat decaffeinated duel between the favorites in the arrival of the 9th stage of the Tour de France 2023 to the mythical Puy de Dôme. A stage that fell on the side of the breakaway of the day in favor of Michael Woods and that leaves us another huge attack of Tadej Pogacar that, although he had Jonas Vingegaard on the ropes, barely served to cut a small handful of seconds.

The stakes remain high at the end of the first week of the Tour de France 2023

An endearing stage 9 of the Tour de France 2023, with the finish 35 years later, at one of the most iconic summits of the French race, the Puy de Dôme, one of the extinct volcanoes of the Auvergne region and once a demanding finish where some of the most epic pages of the Grande Boucle have been written.

A history that began with the victory of the legendary Fausto Coppi in 1952 and that, throughout history has been one of the fetish places for Spanish cyclists with a Federico Martin Bahamontes, who precisely today turns 95 years old, and who won here in the time trial stage in the 1959 edition which he managed to win becoming the first Spaniard to win the yellow jersey of the Tour.

However, more remembered is the victory of Julio Jiménez from Avila in the arrival at the Puy de Dôme in the 1964 edition, a resounding stage victory in which the Eagle of Toledo took second place. However, his great stage was overshadowed by one of the most imposing duels in the history of cycling, the shoulder to shoulder of Raymond Poulidor and Jacques Anquetil with the overall of the Tour de France at stake. A date that will be remembered as the moment when Poulidor finally managed to beat his eternal rival, although he was unable to achieve enough advantage to dethrone Anquetil a few days later in Paris.

This stage is also very special because it starts in Saint Léonard de Noblat, the town where the great Raymond Poulidor lived all his life and received a posthumous tribute from the Tour de France as well as from the bike company Canyon, which supplies the Alpecin-Deceuninck, where his grandson Mathieu van der Poel rides, and which presented a special edition of its aerodynamic machine before the start.

Today 182 kilometers through the Massif Central, without major climbs until the final ascent to the Puy de Dôme but without a flat meter. A day that could be foreseen as marked in red for the riders in the general classification given the ambition shown during the passage through the Pyrenees and that, however, let go a large breakaway almost from the start that, as the kilometers passed, went beyond a quarter of an hour's gap.

A 15-rider breakaway formed by Matteo Jorgenson and Gorka Izagirre for Movistar Team; David de la Cruz and Alexey Lutsenko representing Astana; Michael Woods, Victor Campenaerts, Matej Mohoric, Pierre Latour, as the most outstanding riders.

They would maintain their understanding until, with 62 kilometers to go, hostilities began. From then on, a carousel of attacks and counterattacks went nowhere until Matteo Jorgenson made a hard breakaway and managed to open a gap on his own. As it usually happens in these cases, the attacks continued from behind, stops, starts, which made a rider of Jorgenson's power to open a gap gradually until he reached more than 1 minute of advantage.

Behind, the group was selected, being in pursuit of the American Movistar Team, Neilson Powless, Matej Mohoric, Mathieu Burgaudeau and David de la Cruz in pursuit, although the latter broke the change and was forced to change bikes losing such a privileged position.

We had forgotten the peloton that, as the start of the Puy de Dôme approached, began to accelerate the pace thanks to the push of the teams of the favorites to bring their leaders perfectly positioned. In any case, the stage victory was clearly in the hands of the breakaway, which was 15 and a half minutes ahead.

Right at the start of the climb, still in the streets of Clermont-Ferrand, Jumbo-Visma took the lead in a clear intention to go on the offensive again.

At the front, the victory seemed to go to Matteo Jorgenson, who had almost a minute and a half difference before the last 5 kilometers, very hard, with percentages around 12% maintained on a narrow road, closed to the public today, and that goes around the mountain. We have no proof, but there is no doubt that the designers of the Zwift Volcano circuit were inspired by this pass to design this route of their virtual island Watopia.

However, Jorgenson's corpulence would begin to take its toll. Behind him Matej Mohoric had started in pursuit, another rider for whom this climb was a challenge in the antipodes of his characteristics and from further back Michael Woods was coming up, much more of a climber than both who would be overtaking riders until, with 400 m to go, he managed to catch the Movistar Team rider and, without giving him time to react, he changed the pace to achieve another great victory in a category summit.

Returning to the peloton, we were at the entrance of the hard section with UAE Team Emirates and Jumbo-Visma measuring the forces and alternating the head of the group until the entry of Sepp Kuss definitely selects the group, leaving it initially in 8 units, although soon Jai Hindley and Adam Yates would give way, holding in front Carlos Rodriguez, Thomas Pidcock, Simon Yates, Tadej Pogacar, Jonas Vingegaard and Sepp Kuss himself.

The final kilometers were spent watching the favorites, who were much more cautious and suspicious than on previous days, even when Kuss had finished his work. Finally, with 1.5 kilometers to go, it was Tadej Pogacar who decided to break the hostilities. Jonas Vingegaard came out on his wheel quickly, but the Slovenian kept up the attack for a long time, which caused the Danish rider to lose a few meters.

However, the attack had left him exhausted and the advantage neither increased nor decreased, all while maintaining a huge pace until a glance back from Tadej allowed him to be aware of the difference which gave him enough strength to redouble the pace again and, now, the gap opened quickly: 10, 20, 30 meters ... but, thanks to the courage and competitiveness of Vingegaard, the advantage did not go beyond that. A very hard battle in the final 200 m, with a huge ramp at 14% and finally a difference at the finish line that would be only 8 seconds.

Behind, Pidcock, Carlos Rodriguez and Simon Yates attacked each other and finally, Carlos gave up a few meters, 9 seconds, at the finish to the British rider. In any case, both riders are now clearly in contention for the remaining podium place in view of Hindley's weakness and assuming that both Tadej and Jonas are undoubtedly at another level far above.

Stage 9 Classification

  1. Michael Woods (Israel-PremierTech) 4h19’41’’
  2. Pierre Latour (TotalEnergies) +28’’
  3. Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Victorious) +35’’
  4. Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar Team) +35’’
  5. Clément Berthet (AG2R Citröen) +55’’
  6. Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost) +01’23’’
  7. Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) +01’39’’
  8. Jonas Gregaard (Uno-X) +01’58’’
  9. Mathieu Burgaudeau (TotalEnergies) +02’16’’
  10. David de la Cruz (Astana) +02’34’’

Overall Classification

  1. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) 38h37’46’’
  2. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) +17’’
  3. Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) +02’40’’
  4. Carlos Rodríguez (INEOS Grenadiers) +04’22’’
  5. Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates) +04’39’’
  6. Simon Yates (Jayco AlUla) +04’44’’
  7. Thomas Pidcock (INEOS Grenadiers) +05’26’’
  8. David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) +06’01’’
  9. Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) +06’45’’
  10. Romain Bardet (Team DSM) +06’58’’



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Tadej Pogacar vuelve a recortar ventaja a Vingegaard en el Puy de Dôme