Pedersen Wins Stage 8 of Tour de France 2023
Stage 8 of Tour de France 2023 was designed by race organizer A.S.O. as a 200.7-kilometer ride from Libourne to Limoges. The terrain was hilly, the weather conditions were hot, and the spirit was hectic.
Multiple attacks were launched from the very beginning of the stage. Riders were eager to establish a breakaway and the puncheurs in the Tour de France peloton were eager to secure a stage victory from a long breakaway. Riders such as Kasper Asgreen (Soudal-QuickStep), Andrey Amador (EF Education-EasyPost), and Mads Pedersen (Lidl-Trek) were active at the front. The speed was intense, but with 185 kilometers left no rider had escaped from the chasing peloton.
While Torstein Træen (Uno-X Pro Cycling Team) crashed heavily in a roundabout, action was intense at the front where riders from Lotto-Dstny, Soudal-QuickStep, and TotalEnergies.
EF Education-EasyPost was remarkably absent from the action, despite having breakaway experts such as Magnus Cort in its Tour de France line-up, its general classification favorite Richard Carapaz having abandoned the race and Rigoberto Uran being virtually invisible and delivering a very disappointing performance this far.
The request for EF Education’s presence at the front must somehow have been heard, because Cort moved to the front and fought hard to become part of a viable breakaway group.
Tim de Clercq (Soudal-QuickStep), Athony Delaplace (Arkea-Samsic) and Anthony Turgis (TotalEnergies) established a successful breakaway trio, but many spectators had hoped for a larger group to form, which would have had better chances of successfully seeking a stage win in the finish city of Limoges. The trio had four-minute lead with 160 kilometers left of the stage.
With eighty kilometers left of today’s stage 8, the main peloton was four minutes behind the front trio. Things were starting to look advantageous for three-time stage winner Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck), who is clearly the strongest sprinter in the Tour peloton at the moment. Many spectators and cycling analysts were starting to wonder if other teams would just surrender and offer an additional stage victory to Philipsen instead of sending riders into breakaways.
The speed in the main peloton was increasing ahead of the first climb of the day and the Lidl-Trek, Alpecin-Deceuninck, and Jumbo-Visma teams were pulling at the front of the peloton.
The riders were approaching the Cote de Champs-Romain (Category 3; 2.8 km; 5 percentage incline). On the climb the advantage of the front group was reduced to 03:18 minutes.
Mark Cavendish crashed heavily at the back of the peloton with 62 kilometers left and was sadly forced to abandon this year’s Tour de France – the final Tour de France of his impressive career. Cavendish showed impressive form in yesterday’s stage 7 and looked set to return to his winning ways later in the Tour.
Asgreen launched a powerful solo attack with 36 kilometers left of the stage, hoping to bridge the gap to the front trio, which included his teammate Declercq. Asgreen appeared unable to catch the front trio. 26 kilometers from the finish line, Asgreen was 01:17 minutes behind the front group and the main peloton led by Lidl-Trek and Jumbo-Visma was chasing twenty seconds behind him. Asgreen was caught a few kilometers later.
After Declercq had attempted to drop his two breakaway compatriots with a powerful effort, Turgis attacked from the back of the front trio and soloed on towards the finish line. Turgis was caught later.
A small group of riders, including Simon Yates (Jayco-Alula), crashed at the back of the peloton with six kilometers left. Yates quickly got back on his bike and initiated an almost impossible chase to rejoin the peloton before the finish line.
With three kilometers left of today’s stage a Lidl-Trek team headed by Mattias Skjeldmose was spearheading the peloton. Cofidis moved towards the front for Bryan Coquard. Lotto-Dstny fired hard on their engines to position Caleb Ewan optimally for the final meters. Laporte launched Van Aert but Mads Pedersen (Lidl-Trek) proved the strongest man on the day. Jasper Philipsen finished closely behind Pedersen, while Van Aert completed the stage podium.
“We didn’t know this morning if it would be a breakaway or a sprint finish,” stage winner Pedersen told Roadcycling.com shortly after the finish.
“The boys did a perfect lead-out for me today. It was really nice to win a stage sooner than stage 13. I tried to join a breakaway this morning, but quickly realized they wouldn’t let us go. Oh man it was a long sprint, and it was so painful. I almost had to sit down in the saddle at one point,” Pedersen explained.
“For me it has been a pleasure to race with Mark Cavendish and it is so sad that such a legend has to exit a race in a manner like this. He still owes me a jersey swap,” Pedersen said when asked to comment on Cavendish’ crash and the exit that followed.
Denmark’s Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) remains general classification leader following stage 8. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) is second, 25 seconds behind Vingegaard, while Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) is third, 01:34 minutes behind the current leader.
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