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Tour de France 2023: Michal Kwiatkowski triumphs at the Grand Colombier, Tadej Pogacar gets closer second by second to Jonas Vingegaard

Tadej Pogacar remembers the Tour de France 2020 very well and the arrival of the 15e stage at the top of the Grand Colombier (Ain). The Slovenian was ahead, on the line, of his compatriot Primoz Roglic, winning his second success of this edition, which will see him triumph for the first time, a few days later, in the general classification. “I hope it will be the same scenario this time around”slipped the leader of the UAE Emirates formation, in Châtillon-sur-Chalaronne, before the start of the 13e stage of the 2023 vintage.

On Friday July 14, he came close to his rival overall, the yellow jersey Jonas Vingegaard, but it was Michal Kwiatkowski who won, alone, at the top of the Jura pass. And the Tour 2020 also remembered the good memories of the Pole: that year, he had experienced the only success of his career on the event, in La Roche-sur-Foron (Haute-Savoie). The luxury lieutenant of the Ineos-Grenadiers formation released the last survivors of the breakaway of the day, 11.5 km from the finish.

Kwiatkowski and the twenty other fugitives had a lead of almost four minutes at the foot of the Grand Colombier, one of the most difficult climbs in France (17.4 km at 7.1% average gradient, classified out of category) . In sweltering heat, with temperatures exceeding 30°C in the shade, the 33-year-old runner managed to hold on, eventually beating Belgian Maxim Van Gils (Lotto-Dstny) by 47 seconds and Tadej Pogacar by 50. “It was a completely crazy experience. Without the public, I would not have won. He pushed me to the top. »

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If Tadej Pogacar must therefore settle for third place of the day, he can still have a smile: when he returns to his team’s bus, he is only nine seconds behind the yellow jersey. ” It’s a good day for us. It’s even a small victory to have recovered a few seconds on Vingegaard. The breakaway rode very fast from the start. We didn’t want to take any risks. We preferred to keep our strength up before the last climb: protect ourselves well from the wind, drink well… And in the Grand Colombier, we gave it our all”he explained on France Télévisions.

For Gaudu, “in front, it goes two notches above”

Staying warm in the peloton, the Slovenian let his teammates set the tempo for a good part of the track… Then three kilometers from the finish, the UAE machine really got going to try to go for the victory stage, but above all to win Vingegaard and his sherpa, the American Sepp Kuss. Rafal Majka then placed a first acceleration. Then, it is the turn of Adam Yates to launch. But the two men of the Jumbo-Visma resisted, remaining in the wheel of Pogacar.

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