TOUR DE FRANCE 2023 | STAGE 14 | ANNEMASSE > MORZINE LES PORTES DU SOLEIL
Carlos Rodriguez took advantage of the rivalry between Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogacar to catch them and ride away from them in the downhill of col de Joux-Plane to become the youngest ever Spanish stage winner at the Tour de France at the age of 22. Vingegaard retained the yellow jersey.
MEINTJES, CHAVES AND BARDET ABANDON
The start proper of stage 14 was given to 165 riders at 13.23. The race was put on halt for half an hour after 6.5km due to a massive crash that forced Louis Meintjes (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) and Antonio Pedrero (Movistar) to withdraw from the Tour de France. A second start was given at 14.01. Esteban Chaves (EF Education-EasyPost) pulled out in pain at km 15 while the first significant breakaway took shape with Lars van den Berg (Groupama-FDJ) being joined by Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal-Quick Step) and Krists Neilands (Israel-Premier Tech) and later by Dani Martinez (Ineos Grenadiers) and Alexey Lutsenko (Astana). Romain Bardet (DSM-Firmenich) and James Shaw (EF Education-EasyPost) crashed out in the downhill of col de Saxel at km 25.
2 CAT. 1 KOM FOR CICCONE
After tons of attempts, attacks, counter-attacks and riders being dropped, a lead group of 21 riders took shape. It included three men from the top 20 overall: Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) and Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious). Tobias Halland Johannessen (Uno-X) and Giulio Ciccone (Lidl-Trek) were very active, both interested in the King of the Mountains competition. Ciccone outsprinted polka dot jersey wearer Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost), Alaphilippe and Pinot at cat. 1 col de Cou (km 35.3). The Italian also crested cat. 1 col du Feu (km 52) first and forged on by himself in the downhill until Pinot, Landa, Alex Aranburu (Movistar) Wout Poels (Bahrain Victorious) and Michael Woods (Israel-Premier Tech) came across. Pinot, Landa, Poels, Martin, Martinez, Ciccone, Alexey Lutsenko (Astana), Alex Aranburu and Gorka Izagirre, (Movistar), Hugo Houle and Woods (Israel-PremierTech) managed to stay away while Jumbo-Visma kept them on a leash. Ciccone passed the line of the intermediate sprint at col de Jambaz (km 65.5) in first position. Ciccone and Woods rode away at the beginning of the ascent to col de la Ramaz (km 101). Their former breakaway companions got reeled in 10km before the top while the yellow jersey group was down to about thirty riders including six from Jumbo-Visma and six from UAE Team Emirates. Ciccone surrendered two kilometres further. Van Aert crested col de la Ramaz in first position.
VINGEGAARD BEATS POGACAR ATOP JOUX-PLANE
16 riders were reunited at the front with 30km to go: Van Aert, Sepp Kuss, Wilco Kelderman, Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma), Felix Grossschartner, Rafal Majka, Adam Yates, Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates), Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe), Carlos Rodriguez (Ineos Grenadiers), Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious), David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), Simon Yates, Chris Harper (Jayco-AlUla), Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) and Felix Gall (Ag2r-Citröen).
The team of the yellow jersey led the charge up to col de Joux-Plane, the 250th hors-category climb of the Tour de France since the inception of the label in 1979. 5km before the top, Hindley couldn’t hold the pace set by Kuss, the American being followed by A. Yates, Pogacar, Vingegaard and Rodriguez. With 3.7km of climbing remaining, Pogacar attacked. The Slovenian remained 4″ ahead of the Dane for two kilometres. Vingegaard made it across and sprinted to collect 8″ time bonus and the lead in the KOM competition atop col de Joux-Plane. Rodriguez and Yates made the junction in the downhill. Rodriguez rode away solo with 8km to go and remained at the front till the end. He even moved one step up to take place in the top 3 instead of Hindley for one second.
CARLOS RODRIGUEZ: “IT’S A BIG DAY”
“It’s incredible. I have no words. Being here was a dream. Getting a victory in the best race of the world is incredible. I always dreamed of this. This is super. I’m super grateful to the team for all the effort and all the belief they put in me. I just want to thank them. I didn’t think it was possible when I got dropped in the Joux-Plane. I tried to climb at my own pace to later do the descent as fast as possible. I am a good descender, I wanted to take advantage. I was close to crashing a couple of times, yet I took some risks. Michal Kwiatkowski’s victory and his work today inspired me. Kwiato dropped back three times to help us in 10 minutes. Details like that make a difference and helped me win. This is part of the work, for sure. Being on the podium was a goal: I wanted to gain some time. We accomplished it. I’m happy on that side. I just want to enjoy this victory and to recover a bit from all the effort. It’s a big day.”
JONAS VINGEGAARD: “A NICE FIGHT ALL THE WAY TO PARIS”
“In general the team did well today and we are super happy how it went. My team-mates were amazing. I want to thank them. Tadej went early and was blocked by a motorbike and he stopped again. Luckily I was able to beat him, which was a good thing. It’s hard to tell how big the difference is between Tadej and me. We’re really equal. It’ll be a nice fight all the way to Paris.”
TADEJ POGACAR: “IT’S VERY TIGHT”
“It’s been a good day for us, even though not a perfect day. What we’ve done enable us to have a positive team spirit for the coming days. Tomorrow it’ll be again a difficult stage. It’s very tight between Jonas and me but the Tour might as well be decided in the time trial or in the second last stage.”