Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) finally gained time on Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) and extended his lead at the 2023 Tour de France with a dominant, victorious ride in the 22.4 km time trial. –Cycling News

The Crucial Time–Trial

By Roger Childs

Dane Jonas Vingegaard went into stage 16 with a lead of 10 seconds over arch-rival Slovenian Tadej Pogačar. The one-off time trial was:

  • in the foothills of the French Alps
  • from Passy to Combloux
  • 22.4 km
  • from 579 m to 974 m above sea level.

The cyclists set off at intervals and would be riding most of the race alone. The top two bike riders in the general classification, Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogačar, went into the race just 10 seconds apart, a gap easily bridged on a mountain stage or in a time trial. These two champions were first and second in 2022, and Pogačar was keen to be number one in 2023 and take his third title on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris this coming weekend. To do that he needed to win the time – trial.

Riding the time trial

Following the protocols of cycling tours, the riders set off at two minutes intervals with the slowest cyclist in the general classification going first.  This meant of course that Pogačar and Vingegaard would be last two to start, so the outcome would not be decided until these two legends crossed the finish line. The course had a number of ups and downs as well as twists and turns along the way, with the biggest climb being a few kilometres from the finish.

There were tens of thousands of spectators along the way ranging from the well-behaved, sober viewers to half–boozed male idiots who waved flags and at times ran onto the course. Fortunately at the time check points there were barriers to hold the enthusiastic supporters in check. There were also fences on both sides over the last few kilometres.

Going off last, the yellow jersey holder Vingegaard had his Slovenian rival two minutes ahead of him. As it turned out he steadily gained on Pogačar as the results of the time-check points revealed. Unfortunately Pogačar made a mistake in making a bike change with a few kilometres to go and lost some time.

Vingegaard stretches his lead

Crossing the finish line Pogačar had the fastest time, but after a brilliant ride, Vingegaard was faster still with a margin over his closest rival of I minute 38 seconds. This meant that the Dane’s over-all lead stretched out to 1.48.

With five stages to go the top six are

  1. Jonas Vingegaard (Denmark) 32 hours 36 minutes
  2. Tadej Pogačar (Slovenia) 1 minute 48 seconds more
  3. Simon Yates (Britain) 8.52
  4. Carlos Rodriguez (Spain) 8.57
  5. Jai Hindley (Australia) 11.15
  6. Sepp Kuss (United States) 12.56

These positions could still change before the ride into Paris as there are two mountain stages in the last five. Two things are certain, Vingegaard will stick like glue to Pogačar and Yates will fight hard to prevent Rodriguez robbing him of a podium place on the Champs-Élysées.

There is definitely plenty of excitement guaranteed in the final stages of the 2023 Tour de France. 

The Yellow jersey stretches his lead

Tour leader Jonas Vingegaard was far too strong for rival Tadej Pogacar on Stage 17. On the final climb of the challenging mountain race, the Dane rode away from the Slovenian to give himself an unbeatable advantage . The yellow jersey now has a lead of 7 minutes 35 seconds and barring an accident will win the Tour de France in Paris on Monday our time.