After two weeks of desperately close racing, defending Tour de France champion Jonas Vingegaard stamped his authority on the race with a dominant victory in the lone time trial to finally put some daylight between himself and rival Tadej Pogačar. Vingegaard was fastest at every time check on the 22.4 km course to finish a stunning 1:38 in front of Pogačar and take his first stage win of the 2023 Tour.
- The time trial finally broke open the ultra-tight race for the yellow jersey, but it tightened the race for third. Pogačar’s teammate Adam Yates used a solid TT to leapfrog Ineos Grenadiers’ Carlos Rodriguez for the final podium spot. But just five seconds separates them. Jai Hindley is now a distant fifth.
- It’s hard to overstate Vingegaard’s absolute demolition of the rest of the field today: not only was Pogačar a distant second, but Vingegaard obliterated the time of his Jumbo-Visma teammate Wout van Aert, arguably the only TT specialist in the race who stood a shot of the stage win today. Vingegaard was nearly three minutes faster. In terms of average speed, Vingegaard’s 41.2 km/h pace was over 2 km/h faster than Pogačar and a stunning 3.3 km/h faster than van Aert, a two-time silver medalist in the World Time Trial Championship.
- The course, which featured two steep climbs, was a tricky one for riders and teams to optimize equipment choices. Most riders elected to stick with their aero but relatively heavy time trial bikes, but Pogačar opted for a bike switch on the final climb to his road bike. Ultimately, the swap didn’t help, as Vingegaard was still faster on his TT bike over the final 6 km.
- Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) 32:26
- Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) @ 1:38
- Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) @ 2:51
- Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) @ 2:55
- Simon Yates (Jayco-AlUla) @ 2:58
- Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) 63:06:53
- Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) @ 1:48
- Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates) @ 8:52
- Carlos Rodriguez (Ineos Grenadiers) @ 8:57
- Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) @ 11:15
- Vingegaard’s absolute demolition of the race, and the tightness of the battle for third, complicates UAE’s tactics immensely. Vingegaard is now clear enough of Pogačar to race solely in defense of yellow. Meanwhile, while Adam Yates had a good TT to jump into third, he’s nowhere near close enough to pose a threat to Vingegaard and open up a tactical option like Jumbo used last year on the Col du Granon. Finally, since Yates is just five seconds clear of Carlos Rodriguez in third, any moves he makes would promptly get shut down by Ineos. Nope, Adam’s co-leader status, if it ever truly was that, is now clearly replaced by super-domestique duties.
- Another intriguing, close battle in the race is for the KOM competition. Giulio Ciccone of Lidl-Trek took a unique approach to today’s TT, riding the entire course on Trek’s lightweight Emonda climbing bike, and targeting the KOM of the Côte de Domancy while more or less riding tempo on the rest of the course. It worked: he finished just 58th on the stage, but scored the fastest time on the climb (6:44) to take five points. Chief rival Neilson Powless was not in the top four fastest times and missed out on any points, so Ciccone now has 63 points to Powless’s 58. With two heavy climbing stages coming up (starting Wednesday) this one’s far from over. Wild cards are Vingegaard and Pogačar, at 57 and 49 points, respectively. And there’s always a chance for a climber like Ag2r Citroën’s Felix Gall, Israel-Premier Tech’s Michael Woods, or even Bora-Hansgrohe’s Hindley to take a run at the polka-dot jersey by getting in a big break.
- Much will be made of Pogačar’s decision to swap from his TT bike to his road bike for the final climb. Ronan Mc Laughlin broke down in detail the difficulty of optimizing equipment choices for the day and the pros and cons of a bike swap. But ultimately, the 15-second or so time penalty Pogačar accepted to switch was far from decisive, as Vingegaard outpaced him by more than 30 seconds on the climb, even on his Cervelo P5 time trial bike. It’s worth noting that Pogačar did not suffer a bad day – much the opposite; it’s just that Vingegaard was head-and-shoulders above everyone in the field.
Best of social
Top cyclocross racer Eli Iserbyt had a comment about Wout van Aert feeling like he got smashed in the TT:
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