Michael Woods tames the Puy de Dôme, Tadej Pogacar puts Jonas Vingegaard “under pressure”

In the imagination of the Tour de France, the puy de Dôme is the scene of legendary battles. Thirty-five years after the last passage of the event, the “giant of Auvergne” lived up to the fame of him. First there was the fantastic comeback by Michael Woods (Israel-Premier Tech), the first rider to cross the finish line of 9And stage, Sunday 9 July. Then, a few minutes later, the long-awaited duel between the two favorites of the general classification, Tadej Pogacar (UAE Emirates) and Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma).

We knew the final climb of the day offered as much gradient as little respite to the peloton with its 13.3 kilometers at 7.7% on average, including the last four at around 12%. At the foot of the formidable uncategorized peak, Michael Woods detached the American Matteo Jorgenson by two minutes. The Movistar climber had detached his breakaway companions, including the Canadian, 47 kilometers from the finish, and seemed to be aiming straight for his first victory in the Grande Boucle.

Read also Tour de France 2023: Wood that conquers at the top of the Puy de Dôme, Pogacar gnaws away

It will finally be the Toronto native who raises his arms for the first time in the race, after having deposited Jorgenson 450 meters from the summit. At that moment, recalled the winner of the day, the deafening cheering of the spectators massed on the side of the road had given way to emptiness and silence – forbidden to the public in the last four kilometers of the race, a place classified by UNESCO as mandatory.

“It was very tough on this climb, at the beginning I didn’t think I could win. I still wanted to give my best. It’s always better to be in my place than in Jorgenson’s place. When we can see someone [devant soi], we think it is always possible. 800 meters from the finish I saw that it really was, so I gave everything I could. » Did it inspire Pierre Latour? The Frenchman (TotalEnergies), tongue out, face tense and wobbly on his bike, crossed the finish line, in second position, 28 seconds after the Canadian, after playing his luck. Third the Slovenian Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Victorious).AndJorgenson, 4And.

Michael Woods adds his name to that of the cycling legends who have won at the top of the Puy de Dôme: Fausto Coppi, Federico Bahamontes, Luis Ocaña and Lucien Van Impe. At 36 he also becomes the oldest winner of a stage of the Tour since the Kazakh Alexandre Vinokourov in 2010. “It was the goal of my career, my best result. I will be 37 this year, I felt like my shooting window was about to close. It’s a dream come true. »

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