Vingegaard Wins Tour de France 2023
Stage 21 of Tour de France 2023 was a 115.1-kilometer parade ride that finished on the legendary Champs-Elysees boulevard in Paris. The stage started in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines in the outskirts of Paris and took the riders through Versailles. The stage concluded with eight rounds on a circuit in Paris and the expected outcome was a mass sprint across the finish line – a finish that would suit sprinters in the Tour de France peloton very well.
Unfortunately, Mark Cavendish would not have the chance of taking an additional stage victory in Paris as he had been forced to abandon this year’s Tour because of the injuries sustained in a crash in stage eight. Other notable sprinters absent from the Tour peloton were Fabio Jakobsen (Soudal-QuickStep) and Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Dstny).
Denmark’s Jonas Vingegaard (Team Jumbo-Visma) was leading the general classification before today’s final stage. Vingegaard had a remarkable advantage of 07:29 minutes over Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) – such a big advantage had last been seen in the era when Lance Armstrong dominated the Tour de France. Pogacar’s teammate Adam Yates was third, 10:56 minutes behind the Great Dane.
HOW THE RACE UNFOLDED
The Tour de France riders started today’s final stage in high spirits. Riders were obviously looking forward to a few relaxing days on the beach or the couch and they were joking, laughing and relieved that no more tough mountain challenges awaited them in this year’s Tour.
Apart from an early attack by Victor Campenaerts (Lotto-Dstny), who was celebrating his victory in the Most Competitive Rider of the Tour classification, everything was calm. As tradition prescribes, the riders in the peloton were cruising at slow speed until they reached the circuit in Paris. The winners of the various classifications were getting valuable television time and the riders from various teams were opening champagne bottles and toasting.
More serious attacks were launched on the Champs-Elysees. UAE Team Emirates’ Tadej Pogacar attacked to show he had recovered from his recent lack of fitness – and likely to give the many spectators along the boulevard a great show. Jumbo-Visma’s Nathan van Hooydonck joined Pogacar to protect the interests of his team captain and Tour de France leader Jonas Vingegaard.
Several riders tried to bridge the gap to the front duo. Pogacar was so powerful in the streets of Paris. Michal Kwiatkowski (Ineos-Grenadiers), Alberto Bettiol (EF Education-EasyPost), Mattias Skjelmose (Lidl-Trek), Alex Edmondson (Team DSM), Harold Tejada (Astana) tried their luck and joined the front group. But behind them the Jayco-Alula team were pushing the pedals to close their gap hoping to preserve the interests of their sprinter Dylan Groenewegen.
The front group were caught by the chasing peloton, but new attempts of forming a viable break were quickly launched. Simon Clarke (Jayco-Alula) went on the attack with Nelson Oliveira (Movistar) and Frederik Frison (Lotto-Dstny). Pogacar once again animated the race at the front – he wanted no one to control him but was unable to join the front trio that now had a fifteen second lead over the chasing peloton.
Dries Devenyns tried to catch the front group for his Soudal-QuickStep team but had no success with his attempt.
With fourteen kilometers left of the final stage of Tour de France 2023, the front group had a twenty second advantage. Many riders in the peloton were tired after a grueling Tour and the chasers in the main peloton did not possess their maximum power.
With 8.8 kilometers left, the Tour riders again passed the Joan of Arc statue – the sight of her handed many riders new strength for the final kilometers.
Omar Freile (Ineos-Grenadiers) and Campenaerts launched an attack with Jasper Stuyven (Lidl-Trek), Stan Dewulf (AG2R-Citroen) and Tim Declercq (Soudal-QuickStep).
With five kilometers all attacks had been reeled in. But Remi Cavagna (Soudal-QuickStep) and Bettiol tried their luck – but to no avail. The peloton was setting up the sprinters for a mass sprint across the finish line on Champs-Elysees.
Jeanne d’Arc again motivated the Tour peloton for the final two kilometers and for the final sprint.
Jordi Meeus (Bora-Hansgrohe) won the sprint across the finish line ahead of Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) and Dylan Groenewegen (Jayco-Alula).
The general classification was won by Jonas Vingegaard (Team Jumbo-Visma) ahead of Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) and Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates). Vingegaard won the Tour de France in 82:05:42 having an incredible advantage of 07:29 minutes over second-place finisher Pogacar. Adam Yates was 10:56 minutes behind the Dane. Adam Yates’ twin brother Simon Yates finished fourth, while Carlos Rodriguez was fifth for Ineos-Grenadiers.
“We started our plans shortly after last year’s Tour and once again I could not have done this without my team, I am so proud of my team and of our accomplishment. Tonight, we will celebrate with a nice dinner, and it will be really nice and a nice evening as well,” Vingegaard told Roadcycling.com after being celebrated on the podium in Paris.
I want to thank the team staff for everything you have done for me, and it is important for me to also thank my opponents - it’s been an amazing three weeks fighting you guys.
“I want to say thanks to my wife and two girls. You support me all the time, which is very valuable to me,” Vingegaard added.
“Naturally the desire was to win, but considering my condition I am happy with my performance, and I want to say goodbye from the white jersey, because I am not young anymore,” Pogacar told Roadcycling.com in Paris.
Pello Bilbao finished sixth in the general classification for Bahrain-Victorious, while Bora-Hansgrohe’s Jai Hindley was seventh. AG2R-Citroen’s Felix Gall finished eighth and thereby secured his first top ten finish in a grand tour. Groupama-FDJ’s David Gaudu finished ninth, while fellow Frenchman Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) completed the top ten.
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