Michał Kwiatkowski of Ineos Grenadiers surged to an exceptional individual triumph on the Grand Colombier during the thirteenth stage of the Tour de France.
The Polish cyclist surpassed the remains of the day’s breakaway on the steeper gradients of the day’s final ascent. James Shaw of EF Education-EasyPost, Harold Tejada from Astana Qazaqstan, and Max Van Gils from Lotto-Dstny were unable to respond to Kwiatkowski’s acceleration as he overtook them on a hairpin turn.
Meanwhile, Tadej Pogačar managed to regain eight seconds in the race for the overall victory. The Slovenian cyclist now trails Jonas Vingegaard in the overall rankings by a mere nine seconds. Pogačar launched a late but ruthless attack in the last kilometre, comfortably distancing Vingegaard and moving himself nearer to the yellow jersey. Similar to the finish on the Puy de Dome.
In spite of Pogačar and UAE’s efforts to narrow the gap, Kwiatkowski persevered for his second-ever Tour stage victory. Max Van Gils from Lotto-Dstny was the only other competitor able to resist the charging Slovenian, securing second place on the day, 47 seconds behind Kwiatkowski. Pogačar claimed third, trailing by an additional three seconds.
Stage 13 extended 137 kilometres, from Châtillon-sur-Chalaronne to the summit finish on the Grand Colombier. Much like the previous stage, it took a substantial amount of time for a breakaway group to form due to the quick and spirited racing.
A group of 20 riders eventually managed to pull ahead. The lead group included a mix of riders from various teams, such as Michał Kwiatkowski (Ineos Grenadiers), Quentin Pacher (Groupama-FDJ), Alberto Bettiol and James Shaw (EF Education-EasyPost), Matej Mohorič and Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious), Jasper Stuyven (Lidl-Trek), Adrien Petit, Georg Zimmerman and Mike Teunissen (Intermarché–Circus–Wanty), among others.
The robust breakaway saw its lead surge to well over a minute as it sped across the relatively flat terrain to the day’s first ungraded climb. With 54 kilometres remaining, the breakaway’s advantage stood at 1 minute 56 seconds as the riders prepared to contest the intermediate sprint at Hauteville-Lompnes. Teunissen secured maximum points as Mohorič surged over the top of him, attempting to divide the group in half.
UAE Emirates set the pace at the head of the peloton in an effort to maintain control for Tadej Pogačar. Despite this, the breakaway, led by Mohorič, Bettiol, and Shaw, pressed on and increased its lead to over three minutes. Shaw and Bettiol led the charge off the ungraded climb and into the valley road leading to the base of the Grand Colombier. With 30 kilometres left to race, UAE put Marc Soler to work in an effort to reduce the deficit to the leaders.
At the 14-kilometre marker, Pacher broke away from the group in an attempt to secure a French victory on Bastille Day. Shaw, Tejada, and Van Gils were the only riders capable of keeping up. The trio quickly caught up with Pacher, who was quickly dropped from the group due to the rapid pace. Suddenly, Kwiatkowski emerged from the pack, zooming past the trio of leaders and taking the lead in the race. The Polish cyclist quickly established a 30-second lead over the chasing group, which was once again joined by Mohorič.
Meanwhile, further back down the road, UAE continued to lead the pack but seemed to have relinquished hope of a stage win for Pogačar. Sensing hesitation amongst his fellow competitors, Shaw broke away from the chasing group in pursuit of Kwiatkowski, the sole leader. Regardless, Kwiatkowski seized his moment and secured a decisive win for Ineos Grenadiers.
Behind him, Pogačar held off until the final kilometre to make his move. The Slovenian launched a blistering attack, comfortably distancing Vingegaard as he sprinted towards the finish line. With a challenging weekend in the Alps ahead, Pogačar regained eight seconds on his main competitor and moved even closer to the overall race lead and the coveted yellow jersey. The Slovenian ended the day in third place, behind Kwiatkowski and Max Van Gils, who finished second.
2023 Tour de France Stage 13 result
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