Defending champion Jonas Vingegaard may be on course for a second consecutive Tour de France victory, having solidified his lead through an extraordinary time trial performance. His standout ride saw him finish 1 minute and 38 seconds ahead of two-time winner Tadej Pogačar, resulting in an overall lead of nearly two minutes with just five stages to go.
The Danish cyclist, who rides for the Jumbo-Visma team, started the day with only a 10-second lead. However, his dominant performance on the 22.4-kilometre hilly route from Passy to Combloux marked him as a standout competitor. Vingegaard’s team-mate, Wout van Aert, finished third in the 16th stage, trailing 2:51 behind. Adam Yates secured third place overall, lagging almost nine minutes behind Vingegaard.
Vingegaard stated after the race: “I’m really, really happy with the victory today and really proud of it. It’s my first time trial victory in the Tour de France. So, yeah, I’m really proud.” He also acknowledged the upcoming challenges: “No, there’s still a lot of hard stages to come so we have to keep fighting the next days. And yeah, we’re looking forward to it.”
Pogačar, despite a strong start, was unable to match Vingegaard’s performance. Although the Slovenian cyclist made an impressive effort, changing from his time-trial bike to a lightweight road bike for the final ascent, Vingegaard’s pace was too robust.
Despite the substantial lead, Vingegaard and his team are not declaring victory yet, especially with a challenging mountain stage on the horizon. The 17th stage includes a 28.4-kilometre uphill struggle to Col de la Loze, followed by a descent to the Courchevel ski station.
Tuesday’s time trial was expected to be a pivotal moment in the Tour de France, but few anticipated the sizeable gap that Vingegaard would create. He mentioned that even he surprised himself with his performance.
Drama marked the beginning of the stage, with three of the first 15 riders tumbling just 200m into the course, although they were all able to continue. Vingegaard now has the opportunity to win his second Tour de France title, but with hard stages ahead, he insists the race is not over.
2023 Tour de France Stage 16 result
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Main photo credit: Getty