TOUR DE FRANCE 2023 | STAGE 9 | SAINT-LÉONARD-DE-NOBLAT > PUY DE DÔME
Michael Woods won stage 9 to the Puy de Dôme from a breakaway that went from the gun. The duel between Tadej Pogacar and Jonas Vingegaard took place in the last 1.5km of racing. The Slovenian reclaimed 8 seconds but the Dane retained the yellow jersey.
14 RIDERS IN THE LEAD
169 riders took the start of stage 9 in Raymond Poulidor’s village Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat at 13.41. 14 riders took off quickly: Clément Berthet (AG2R-Citroën), Michael Woods and Guillaume Boivin (Israel-Premier Tech), Matteo Jorgenson and Gorka Izagirre (Movistar), Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious), Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost), Pierre Latour and Mathieu Burgaudeau (TotalEnergies), David De La Cruz and Alexey Lutsenko (Astana), Victor Campenaerts (Lotto-Dstny), Jonas Abrahamsen and Jonas Gregaard (Uno-X). The peloton chased hard for a while but gave up at km 20 when they brought Mattias Skjelmose (Lidl-Trek) and Alberto Bettiol (EF Education-EasyPost) back. The time difference was 6’ at the intermediate sprint of lake of Vassivière (km 30.4) where Abrahamsen anticipated his breakaway companions.
JORGENSON ON THE MOVE
A time gap of 10’50’’ was posted atop côte de Felletin (km 74.8) where Powless passed first. The American was back on his mission to win the polka dot jersey this year. It was 11’40’’ when Boivin was the first rider to escape from the front group. He was reeled in after four kilometres alone in the lead. His initiative was followed by several skirmishes. Jorgenson road away 47km before the end. Mohoric, Burgaudeau, Powless and De La Cruz chased him down. They were fifteen seconds behind when De La Cruz had to stop and get a new bike because of a mechanical.
POGACAR GAINS 8 SECONDS
With 3km to go, Jorgenson was 1’20’’ ahead as Mohoric distanced his two companions. Woods made it across by himself and overhauled the Slovenian before the American. He rode the last 450 metres by himself to become the first non-European winner at Puy de Dôme. Pogacar sped up with 1.5km to go. Vingegaard reacted but the white jersey managed to distance the yellow jersey 600 metres before the line. Pogacar reclaimed eight seconds but Vingegaard retained the overall lead by 17 seconds before the first rest day.
MICHAEL WOODS: “I WAS THE MOST MARKED MAN”
“I’m proud of myself and proud my team. It’s special to win here. I’m 36 years old, turning 37 this year, I’m not getting any younger. I’m 36, turning 37 this year. To win a Tour de France stage was my ultimate goal and I could see the window closing on to me. That was the goal. I wish I could say this victory today was planned but how the cards played, I was the most marked man. I had to be patient and not thinking about the win when I was racing behind Jorgenson. I wasn’t thinking of catching him but only to give the best of myself. It’s very similar to the win I got at La Vuelta in 2018: very fast start, lots of team attacking before the final steep climb and I made it at the end despite the suffering. It’s a dream come true. The great people I have around, starting with my wife and kids, made it possible.”
JONAS VINGEGAARD: “THE ALPS SUIT ME BETTER THAN PUY DE DÔME”
“It would have been nicer to gain than lose time on Tadej Pogacar but as I said before, I came to the Tour knowing that the first week suited me less than what’s to come, so to be in the yellow jersey at the end of the first week satisfies me. I felt quite OK today, however Tadej was again a little bit better. Today, we didn’t want to go for the stage win, however, hadn’t we controlled, the gap would have been 40 minutes and we would have had to ride at some point anyways. It was a very hard but very nice experience to race up to Puy de Dôme and I’m looking forward to the Alps.”
TADEJ POGACAR: “IT’S A SMALL VICTORY”
“It is not a victory … but a small one. I’m super happy today, it’s a super nice day. I was quite relaxed until the last climb. I felt on my legs immediately that I was good. I waited for the last 1,5km to go, just in case. But yeah, I had a good day. When I started my attack, I saw his shadow on the road and he was chasing me, trying to match my acceleration. I felt my legs were good, so I kept pushing until a gap opened… and, from them on, I just kept going. Cyclists, like every athlete, like to win on every race they take part in. It is a shame that the breakaway went away, yet in the group there were excellent riders who also deserved a victory like this one. Also, we learnt from last year that we shouldn’t chase victory in every stage. This climb is super nice, and would be nicer with more spectators. I was a bit scared because everyone was telling me it was super steep and super hard… but it actually felt as if we were flying up the road. I had my family here and I’m super happy to see them. Also, since today there is not a lot of people here, I can speak with them a bit more.”
MATTEO JORGENSON: “I’M HAPPY WITH THE RISK I TOOK”
“I played my hand a bit early, because I knew in that group I wouldn’t be able to match Mike Woods and Neilson [Powless] I guess. I had to get away in a small group or solo. I ended up getting solo and I went all in. At the end, you just have to hope that they blow up. I gave it all but it wasn’t quite enough. To be honest the radio didn’t work the whole climb as the cars went around the corner at the bottom of the final climb. The only time gap I had was from the moto. 35’’ was the last gap I heard and I started to feel empty with 1km to go. Before I knew it, Mike was there and he was passing me. There was no hiding in these gradients. I’m happy with the risk I took, even if it didn’t pay off because my rivals were very strong. I had good legs today. That’s a positive sign for what is ahead, as there are many opportunities coming our way. Not having spectators around made the Puy de Dôme even harder. It felt like a training ride, almost. It was a weird, silent atmosphere.”