Tour de France Stage 20: Pogacar-Vingegaard ’til the End

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TOUR DE FRANCE 2023 | STAGE 20 | BELFORT > LE MARKSTEIN FELLERING

The duel between Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogacar lasted till the very end of the very last mountain stage of the 110th Tour de France as the Slovenian outsprinted the Dane at Le Markstein to claim his 11th stage win, the second one this year. Felix Gall placed himself between them and Vingegaard retained the yellow jersey on the eve of the grand finale in Paris, but the second last stage was truly the expected fireworks for Thibaut Pinot who rode alone in the lead in front of his fans before crossing the line in seventh position.

NO OPPOSITION TO CICCONE FOR THE POLKA DOT JERSEY

The start proper of stage 20 was given to 151 riders at 13.44. As usual, Victor Campenaerts (Lotto-Dstny) was the first attacker, accompanied this time by his team-mate Jasper De Buyst. Up to Ballon d’Alsace, Campenaerts soloed until he was reeled in 4.4km before the summit. The peloton was compact at the top and the sprint for the KOM was won by Giulio Ciccone who appeared as the only rider interested to contest the polka dot jersey among the four who were still mathematically in the situation of winning it. Carlos Rodriguez (Ineos Grenadiers), 4th overall, crashed at km 33. Once he made it back to the pack, a group of 16 riders including Jonas Vingegaard but not Tadej Pogacar. The yellow jersey eventually sat up to give a chance to the breakaway to succeed.

22/07/2023 – Tour de France 2023 – Etape 20 – Belfort / Le Markstein Fellering (133,5 km) – CICCONE Giulio (LIDL – TREK) – @ A.S.O./Charly Lopez

PINOT’S LAST DANCE IN FRONT OF HIS FANS

Some of these attackers managed to stay away and formed a 6-man leading group with 80km to go: Ciccone and Mattias Skjelmose (Lidl-Trek), Krists Neilands (Israel-Premier Tech), Warren Barguil (Arkea-Samsic), Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) and Maxime Van Gils (Lotto-Dstny). A counter-attack involved Thibaut Pinot, Valentin Madouas, Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ), Rigoberto Uran (EF Education-EasyPost), Chris Harper (Jayco-AlUla), Ion Izagirre (Cofidis) and Kevin Vermaerke (DSM-Firmenich). Pinot made it across by himself on the way up to col de Grosse Pierre eventually crested in first position by Ciccone. It became a group of 10 with 63km to go with Madouas, Uran and Vermaerke reaching the lead after Harper. Ciccone mathematically won the KOM competition at col de la Schlucht 54km before the end.

A WINNING SPRINT FOR POGACAR AT THE END

UAE Team Emirates chased hard at the helm of the main peloton. Up to Petit Ballon, Madouas, Pinot, Ciccone, Pidcock and Barguil got a maximum advantage of 1’30’’ over the yellow jersey group. 5.5km before the summit, Pinot went solo. He crested Petit Ballon alone after being hugely celebrated by his fans for his last mountain stage in the Tour de France. In the yellow jersey group reduced to ten riders, Pogacar attacked for the first time 14km before the end.

22/07/2023 – Tour de France 2023 – Etape 20 – Belfort / Le Markstein Fellering (133,5 km) – GALL Felix (AG2R CITROEN TEAM) – @ A.S.O./Charly Lopez

The trio Pogacar-Vingegaard-Gall passed Pinot, who had been rejoined by Barguil and Pidcock, 3km before the summit of Platzerwasel and went on to contest the stage victory. Simon and Adam Yates caught up with the leading trio with 5km to go. It helped Pogacar win the stage as he received the help of Adam Yates as a lead out man while Simon Yates overtook Rodriguez to reach the fourth place overall.

TADEJ POGACAR: “IT WAS GREAT TO FEEL GOOD AFTER DAYS OF SUFFERING”

“Today I finally felt like myself again. It was in really good from start to finish. It was great to feel good again after many days suffering and to pull off a stage win. I could continue for one more week [giggles], but nah, let’s go home. I was waiting for Adam [Yates] to come back because I know him and he could lead me out super well. Thanks to him, I was less nervous coming into the final and winning was a bit easier. I was super happy that the team did such a great job once again. I think the atmosphere in the bus every day will be my best memory of this Tour de France. The worst, every time that Marc Soler looked at me as I was suffering on his wheel while climbing the Col de la Loze. His gaze was the most terrifying moment! [laughs]”

22/07/2023 – Tour de France 2023 – Etape 20 – Belfort / Le Markstein Fellering (133,5 km) – POGACAR Tadej (UAE TEAM EMIRATES), VINGEGAARD Jonas (JUMBO-VISMA) – @ A.S.O./Charly Lopez

GIULIO CICCONE: “IT WAS A BIG FIGHT”

“We had one plan and we did a terrific job to execute it. I need to thank all my team-mates. I think they did something crazy right from the start. When riders like Mads Pedersen and Mattias Skjelmose decide to do something, you have to stay in the wheels. We did everything perfect to hold on to this jersey, in the hills and in the valley. It was a big fight. We got what we wanted. I’m really happy.”

22/07/2023 – Tour de France 2023 – Etape 20 – Belfort / Le Markstein Fellering (133,5 km) – CICCONE Giulio, JENSEN Skjelmose Mattias (LIDL – TREK) – @ A.S.O./Charly Lopez

JONAS VINGEGAARD: “I HAVE NO BAD MEMORIES FROM THIS TOUR”

“To get a second Tour de France feels as amazing as the first one. We still have to be careful about the Paris stage, because anything can happen… but yeah, it feels amazing. I almost can’t believe it. It has definitely been a crazy battle all these three weeks. I’m sure it has been great to watch for the fans. I really appreciate how beautiful my battle with Tadej has been. He is such a great guy and has given me such an amazing fight since Bilbao. I am very thankful to my team, because I could have never made it without them. We all dit our job so well during these three weeks. My best memory of this Tour de France will definitely be the team, because we had a plan and we executed it to perfection. As for the worse, I have to say I have no bad memories of this Tour de France.”

22/07/2023 – Tour de France 2023 – Etape 20 – Belfort / Le Markstein Fellering (133,5 km) – VINGEGAARD Jonas (JUMBO-VISMA) – @ A.S.O./Charly Lopez

JASPER PHILIPSEN: “I KNOW WHAT TO DO TOMORROW”

“It has been a relief to finish this stage. I have suffered so much in the mountains over these three weeks, and also today. But today’s stage has been special, as there were many friends of mine out there to cheer for me from the roadside. Getting the green jersey means a lot for me, because it is a childhood dream of mine. Wearing it in the podium of the Tour de France will be such an emotional moment. I hope to play for the win in the Champs-Elysées. It’s the most beautiful street in Paris and to finish off the greatest bike race in the world there is so special. I have won there already, so I know what to do tomorrow.”

THIBAUT PINOT: “IT’S MORE THAN A VICTORY”

“It was extraordinary. I’ve experienced incredible feelings today. I’ve done this race for winning it and I think it was the right tactic but I lacked a bit of legs to accompany the group who contested the stage victory. Up to Petit Ballon, it was pure madness. I had the best fans in the world. This moment will stay in my memory for ever. It goes beyond the result. It’s more than a victory. I’m also happy to finish with such a good level and show that I was able to play a role in my last Tour de France.”

22/07/2023 – Tour de France 2023 – Etape 20 – Belfort / Le Markstein Fellering (133,5 km) – PINOT Thibaut (GROUPAMA – FDJ) – @ A.S.O./Charly Lopez
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