Clash of the Titans. Triumph in the Tour de France Wingegaard claims the title of dominance

The route of the Tour de France 2023 turned out to be somewhat non-standard: already among the first six stages of the team course there were two hilly ones, for which, thanks to the start of the race in the Basque Country, and two mountainous ones, but at the same time, among the last four, only on one of the generals had a chance to arrange a showdown. However, that didn’t affect the fact that the fight for the yellow jersey (leadership) would take place between reigning Tour champion Jonas Vingegor and Tadei Pogacar, who has won twice in a row before him.

The first real blow to the competitor was dealt by the Dane on the fifth stage, when he was ahead of his main opponent by 64 seconds, and in the overall standings he began to overtake him by a little less than a minute. The Slovenian failed to respond comprehensively, so he was forced to gradually catch up on the backlog in the later stages. On the one hand, it was sometimes possible to win back literally grains of time. On the other hand, the gap in the general classification has inexorably narrowed. As a result, after two weeks of competitions, the athletes were separated by the standards of a three-week grand tour by an instant – 10 seconds.

Tour of France

Everyone knew that the uphill individual time trial on stage 16 after a rest day could prove to be a showdown for the yellow jersey. Wingegor simply superbly showed himself ahead of Pogacar, who took second place in the stage, by 1:38. It was a blow to the Slovenian’s prospects. And finally they eliminated him the next day when he completely failed the stage, while the Dane was still good. The seven and a half minute delay was, of course, irrecoverable. Also, there were hardly any hard stages left at that point.

Wingegaard has made a serious bid for many years of dominance of the Tour de France, defeating the young genius Pogacar for the second time in a row, who he will certainly look to respond adequately in the coming years. But this time he has lost twice as much overall time as a year ago: 7:29 versus 3:34. By the way, in 2021, Tadej just confidently defeated Jonas (5:20), but now the picture has changed dramatically.

In addition to this couple, a few more cyclists are worth noting. Adam Yates, although he was the main assistant to the leader of the Pogacar team, did not forget about himself: he climbed the podium, taking the final third place in the overall standings, won the first stage, after which he wore the yellow jersey on his shoulders for another three days. Jesper Philipsen with four victories and winning the green jersey (point nominations) has shown that despite his rather young age by cycling standards, 25 years old, he is already claiming the title of the strongest sprinter in the world. Even if the Belgian failed to win in the final stage on the Champs Elysees: he was unexpectedly overtaken by compatriot Jordi Meis.

Tour of France

The long-awaited award found one of the group’s most important centenarians: the French team Cofidis. Not only did he end a 15-year wait to win a stage, he did it twice. Up until this year, by the way, he had only won two stages in the Tour in total. If we talk about underdogs, then Wout Van Art has more reason to complain than luck. The Belgian finished in the top three on stages four times, but he was never able to win.

Not many riders have won the grand Tour de France three or more times in a row: the Frenchmen Louis Bobet (1953-1955) and Jacques Anquetil (1961-1964), the inimitable Belgian Eddy Merckx (1969-1972), the mighty Spaniard Miguel Indurain (1991-1995) and the Briton Chris Froome (20 15-2017). Well, let’s separately mention Lance Armstrong, who dominated from 1999 to 2005, who was then stripped of all these titles due to doping.

However, none of the grand champions listed above managed to win their third “Great Loop” under 26. The record is still held by Merckx. But before that, Pogacar won his second yellow jersey in 2021 at the age of 22, and now Wingegor is achieving a similar result at the age of 26.

Next year, the Slovenian will have his last chance to become the youngest three-time winner of the world’s top cycling race. It’s just that his battle with the Dane can become a real classic of the “Tour” and last for many years. After all, it now looks like Jonas has a great shot at becoming the most titled in the Big Loop, because nearly half of Indurain’s record five wins have already been completed. But Tadey will definitely not agree to become a simple witness to the writing of golden letters on the pages of history by his competitor.


There is no doubt now: this fantastic Tour de France confrontation will last for years and will undoubtedly thrill the hearts of all cycling lovers.


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