Jonas Vingegaard delivered a striking performance in the mountains, significantly extending his lead over rival Tadej Pogacar in the Tour de France on Wednesday. This follows a strong showing in the time trial stage, leaving Vingegaard poised to claim the yellow jersey for the second consecutive year.
Having taken the 17th stage in fourth place, almost six minutes ahead of a weary Pogacar, Vingegaard is now leading by seven minutes and 35 seconds. “Now to have more than seven minutes is just really incredible,” said Vingegaard, who cautioned that “the Tour de France is not over yet” and Pogacar could yet have a say in the final three stages.
Pogacar, the two-time champion who Vingegaard dethroned last year, fell behind about 16 kilometres from the finish. He had already had a difficult start to the day, crashing a few kilometres into the 166-kilometre ride, which might have affected his performance. He refused to blame the crash, stating, “I just couldn’t go today. It was not a good day”.
The race concludes in Paris on Sunday, with just one challenging stage left in the Alsace region, involving 3,600 meters of climbing. Given the wide gap between the leaders, it’s unlikely to alter the standings.
The day’s victory went to Felix Gall, who called the win in the ‘Queen Stage’ – the term for the most challenging stage of the race – the biggest of his career. Simon Yates and Pello Bilbao finished second and third respectively. Adam Yates remains in third place overall, lagging by 10:45.
Vingegaard secured his lead during Tuesday’s time trial, which saw him finish 1:38 ahead of Pogacar. Despite a wrist injury suffered earlier in the year, Pogacar was initially competitive but fell behind in the last two stages. “Today was one of the worst days on the bike but I had to keep fighting,” he said.
2023 Tour de France Stage 17 result
Results powered by FirstCycling.com
Main photo credit: Daniel Cole