In an unexpected twist in the 2023 Tour de France, Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) emerged victorious in Stage 6, stunning Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) on the final climb to Cauterets-Cambasque. Despite Pogacar’s triumph, Vingegaard replaced Australia’s Jai Hindley in the yellow leader’s jersey.
Pogacar Strikes Back, Ignites Bidding for Third Tour Crown
The action-packed Stage 6 was a complete turnaround from the previous stage, in which Pogacar trailed Vingegaard by over a minute. The Slovenian launched an attack barely 2.7 kilometres from the finish, leaving Vingegaard unable to respond. This victory re-energized Pogacar’s campaign for a third Tour de France crown, after finishing the stage just 24 seconds ahead of Vingegaard and trailing by only 25 seconds in the overall standings. “I would not say revenge but it’s sweet to win today and take some time back,” said Pogacar, feeling relieved.
Jumbo-Visma’s Overkill Strategy and Vingegaard’s Yellow Jersey
Despite grabbing the yellow jersey, Jumbo-Visma’s plan to “kill” the Tour de France backfired, according to Jonathan Vaughters, EF Education-EasyPost’s boss. The energy expended by Vingegaard, Wout van Aert, Sepp Kuss, and Wilco Kelderman in their aggressive strategy was deemed excessive. “They’ve got so much horsepower, they think ‘we can just stonk this race out’,” Vaughters pointed out, highlighting that Vingegaard had to work hard and burn a lot of energy, while Pogacar played ‘the lame duck’, conserving his energy for the end.
From Leader to Third: Jai Hindley’s Brief Stint in Yellow
The day proved challenging for Jai Hindley (Bora-hansgrohe), whose debut appearance in the leader’s jersey turned out to be his last. He was unable to keep up with the Jumbo-Visma team’s blistering pace up the renowned Col du Tourmalet. He finished the day in damage-limitation mode, dropping to third in the overall general classification standings.“It was just an epic day… I got my a*** handed to me. But I really enjoyed it,” he said.
Looking Ahead: The Battle for Yellow Continues
The exciting events in the Tour de France 2023 have set the ground for a fierce competition. The battle for the yellow jersey is heating up, with Pogacar’s revival and Vingegaard’s ascension to the top. Pogacar jokingly warned British veteran sprinter Mark Cavendish, “Ten stage victories now – I’m coming for you, Mark!” as the cyclists prepared for the next stages.
The contestants and fans are looking forward to more action-packed days as the race progresses, with Pogacar and Vingegaard battling for the coveted yellow jersey and the rest attempting to close the gap. The Tour de France 2023 is unquestionably a classic.