TOUR DE FRANCE 2023 | STAGE 16 | PASSY > COMBLOUX
Jonas Vingegaard managed to beat Tadej Pogacar by an unexpected margin of 1’38″ in the mountainous time trial to Combloux to become the first ever Danish to win a Tour de France ITT and impose himself against the clock like Julian Alaphilippe (2019) and Chris Froome (2016) before him. It’s Jumbo-Visma’s first stage win this year. The Dane leads the Tour by 1’48″ and Adam Yates joins team-mate Pogacar in the top 3 overall.
RÉMI CAVAGNA FIRST OF THE ITT SPECIALISTS ON THE ROAD
Michael Morkov was the first rider to leave the starting ramp at 13.05. There was one non-starter among the 157 riders on the ITT entry list: Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar). Dries Devenyns (Soudal-Quick Step), the oldest participant of this Tour de France who will turn 40 on the eve of the grand finale in Paris, was invited to the hot seat as he set the best time of the first twenty riders in action. He was ousted by Nikias Arndt (Bahrain Victorious) before Mads Pedersen (Lidl-Trek) took over. But it was ITT French champion Rémi Cavagna (Soudal-Quick Step) who scored a reference for the specialists in 35’42″ at the average speed of 37.647km/h. The “TGV from Clermont-Ferrand” had chosen to not change bike for the Domancy climb.
BELGIAN ITT CHAMPION OUSTS FRENCH CHAMPION FROM THE HOT SEAT
Cavagna remained on the hot seat for two hours and twelve minutes. A bike change didn’t enable Stefan Küng to reverse the situation after he lost to the Frenchman at the bottom of the climb the best time he provisionally established at check point 1. But Belgian national champion for ITT Wout van Aert bettered him as he opted for the same tactic of covered all the 22.4 kilometres on his TT bike. He rode 35 seconds faster than Cavagna from the bottom of the Domancy climb till the finish line to clinch an average speed of 37.912km/h.
VINGEGAARD AHEAD FROM START TO FINISH
In the duel for the Maillot Jaune, Vingegaard indicated his superiority from the start as he rode the first 7km 16’’ faster than Pogacar. He looked like taking more risks in the curves going downhill. At the bottom of the hill, where Pogacar got a new bike, the Dane extended his advantage to 31″.
At the top of the hill, still on TT bike, he doubled it up to 1’05″ and completed the course with the enormous advantage of 1’38″. Pogacar posted the second best time of the day with Van Aert rounding out the stage podium and Pello Bilbao taking a worthy fourth place. Adam Yates managed to overtake Carlos Rodriguez in third place overall while Felix Gall made it back into the top 10 at the expense of Guillaume Martin.
JONAS VINGEGAARD: “I HAVEN’T WON THE TOUR DE FRANCE YET”
“I was feeling great today. This is the best time trial I’ve ever done. I’m proud of what I have done today, and I’m very happy about my victory. To be honest, I surprised myself with the time trial I did. I didn’t expect to do so well. We had split the ITT in four parts. I tried to go hard in the first climb, then recover in the downhill, hold back in the flat section, and go full gas in the fast climb while still keeping something for the final kilometres. I just had an incredible day. We had a pacing strategy and, even when I was due to save energy, I was above the expected watt output.”
“I haven’t won the Tour de France yet. There are some hard days to come, and I think the race isn’t over. I still have to do everything I can to keep the yellow jersey. The team has been amazing so far. I want to thank them. Everything we are doing in this Tour de France is part of a bigger plan that we are executing day by day.”
GIULIO CICCONE: “TOMORROW WILL BE THE DECIDING DAY IN THE KOM CLASSIFICATION”
“It was a big day today, although it was a tricky one because every stage after a rest day can be complicated. My strategy was to take it easy and then go full gas on the climb, as I knew [Neilson] Powless would do the same and he could well take the polka dot jersey off my shoulders. Luckily, it worked out well for me. Overall, it’s been a nice day. Jonas Vingegaard has been amazing. I only beat him by 3”, and I just did the climb while he was full gas for the whole ITT! Tomorrow will be the deciding day in the KOM classification. My plan is to be in the break and fight for the points while keeping an eye on the possibility of a stage win. I know it will be hard for me to take this polka dot jersey home. I need to really study the race in depth to craft the best possible strategy.”
TADEJ POGACAR: “IT’LL BE HARD TO RECOVER ALMOST TWO MINUTES”
“I’m a bit surprised because I felt I was doing a solid TT. But at the end, the gap is big. At the beginning I was following the times of Wout van Aert and I was telling myself that I was on the right track because I was gaining time on him. Anyway, I gave it all. It’s not over because we have a very hard stage tomorrow. We’ll try to find a plan and execute it but for sure it’ll be hard to recover almost two minutes. Hopefully I’ll be able to bounce back like I did in the Pyrénées after losing time on Marie-Blanque.”