TOUR DE FRANCE 2023 | STAGE 8 | LIBOURNE > LIMOGES
On the sad farewell day of Mark Cavendish who crashed out, Mads Pedersen powered to his second Tour de France victory in Limoges one year after he opened his account in Saint-Etienne. Jasper Philipsen and Wout van Aert settled down for second and third. Jonas Vingegaard retained the yellow jersey.
DECLERCQ, DELAPLACE AND TURGIS AT THE FRONT
The start proper of stage 8 was given at 12.43 to 172 riders. Lots of skirmishes took place in the first 20km but they were unsuccessful until Tim Declercq (Soudal-Quick Step) managed to go clear. He was joined at km 22 by Anthony Turgis (TotalEnergies) and Anthony Delaplace (Arkea-Samsic). A maximum time difference of 5’15’’ was record before the intermediate sprint at Tocane-Saint-Apre (km 79). Delaplace outsprinted Turgis and Philipsen proved once again to be the fastest as he fulfilled his green jersey ambitions by winning the sprint of the peloton for fourth place.
His team-mate Mathieu van der Poel tried to surprise the field as he attacked right after the intermediate sprint. Philipsen, Mark Cavendish, Bryan Coquard and Biniam Girmay were among the fifteen riders who accompanied him. It forced Jumbo-Visma to chase hard as Wout van Aert had made no secret on his stage win ambitions in Limoges. It was back together after a couple of kilometres.
CAVENDISH OUT OF HIS LAST TOUR DE FRANCE
Lidl-Trek started to make the race harder at the head of the peloton with one and half hour remaining. Cavendish crashed out with 64km to go. Cofidis came in help to pace the peloton that was timed 2’30’’ adrift before the last hour of racing. Kasper Asgreen (Soudal-Quick Step) attacked from the pack with 36km remaining. He stayed in between for 14 kilometres. The deficit of the peloton was one minute at the 20-km to go mark. Turgis rode away solo in the côte de Masmont 16km before the end.
SKJELMOSE PUTS PEDERSEN INTO ORBIT
Declercq tried to make it back to the front but was swallowed by the pack 10km before the end. Turgis was reeled with 8km remaining. His team-mate Steff Cras crashed with 6km to go while Simon Yates and Mikel Landa also went down and reached the finish line with a 47″ deficit. The Belgian, 13th overall, was forced to pull out. Mattias Skjelmose strongly seized the command of the peloton at the entrance of Limoges. The Danish champion put his team-mate and compatriot Mads Pedersen into orbit but the competition was fierce in the uphill stretch. The former world champion looked to have it when he passed Van Aert who was led out by Christophe Laporte but Van der Poel took Philipsen to the front and Pedersen had to jump to the finish line to fend off the green jersey holder. This is the 26th Danish stage win at the Tour de France, the second for Pedersen himself who already bagged a Giro d’Italia stage victory in Naples this year.
MADS PEDERSEN: “IT’S BEAUTIFUL TO WIN AT THE TOUR”
“We didn’t know this morning if it would be a break or a sprint. The sprinters didn’t want to let the break go. My boys gave me a perfect lead out. Even with long sprint, I still had the legs to finish it off. It’s good to win a stage earlier than on stage 13 last year. When I passed the line, I knew I had won. It was long sprint. The final stretch was very painful. I was very close to sit up with 50 m to go. Jasper had to do a great sprint to overtake me. Yet it doesn’t matter winning by a large margin or by a small one. Regardless of this, it’s beautiful to win at the Tour. For me it was a pleasure to be able to ride with Mark Cavendish. I always had a good relationship with him in the peloton. It’s so sad for a legend to finish the Tour like this. He still owes me a jersey, for a jersey swap. Hopefully I can do some of the last races he does.”
Pedersen added his feelings about Cavendish’s crash: “Mark is such a legend in cycling and it was really sad to hear in the radio that he had to abandon the race after a crash because I would have loved to have seen him win this 35th stage and then I could get his jersey after that, he still owes me a jersey. I feel really sorry for Mark and I just hope that he will come back in the season and that I can do his last race with him. It would be a real honor for me.”
ANTHONY TURGIS: “I FOUGHT AS LONG AS I COULD”
“Being ahead in a breakaway, we always have some hope to go for the win. In the heat, it isn’t bad to ride at the front because we can deal with the conditions a bit better since we have immediate access to the team for a feed. I was always feeling good today. So I enjoyed my day. But it wasn’t simple. I tried to fight as long as I could but it was game over with 9km to go.”
TADEJ POGACAR: “I DIDN’T HAVE THE LEGS FOR WINNING”
“The final has not been easy, especially as it was very hot all day. I wanted to sprint for the win, but I felt my legs were tired and I couldn’t be at the front. Matteo [Trentin] did a great job to set me up, and I tried to sprint – but I didn’t have that sprint in my legs. The Puy-de-Dôme something new for everybody. It will be a special day. The climb is super hard, and it will blow the race down to pieces again. It’s a shame that Mark [Cavendish] broke his collarbone and had to go home, especially after being so close to the stage win yesterday. Everybody wanted to see him go for one more win, especially as he has said this is his final year.”
NEILSON POWLESS: “TOMORROW’S CLIMB IS HARDER THAN THE PYRÉNÉES”
“It was harder than yesterday, but expected it. I tried to save energy as much as possible, as I want to target the days that matter the most for the KOM jersey – like tomorrow! The final climb is harder than any other we have gone up in this Tour.”
JASPER PHILIPSEN: “WE COULD HAVE SPRINTED FOR MATHIEU BUT THE GREEN JERSEY IS OUR MAIN GOAL”
“It’s a disappointment. It was a fair sprint, Mads had the best legs, congrats to him. It was not meant to be for us. The team did an amazing job but I couldn’t finish it off – I didn’t have the legs. We would have liked to win today, but it was not the best finish for my abilities. It was a good finish for Mads, and to Mathieu. We could have done other way around, but the points jersey main is our goal and we went with me. We have been successful so far, so nothing to regret. I was surprised to hear that Mark Cavendish had crashed out. He was on a good track to win a stage and beat Merckx’s record, and it’s very unfortunate that his story in the Tour de France finished up like this. I am sorry for him and wish him all the best. He sure inspired me, as he is the best sprinter of all time. He is a legend, and a great example for me.
JONAS VINGEGAARD: “PUY-DE-DÔME CAN BE DECISIVE”
“We expected a difficult finale. The stage was demanding because of the heat but we’ve dealt with it. We would have preferred to win the stage but Mads [Pedersen] has been very strong. I went to recon the Puy-de-Dôme the day before the Dauphiné, it’s extremely steep. Tomorrow’s stage can be decisive but there’ll more afterwards.”