French teams at the forefront, an epic duel, undisciplined spectators… What we liked and what we didn’t like about the 110th edition

The 2023 Tour de France concluded on Sunday with the victory of Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) in the general classification.

In a Tour de France traveled at full speed, the official final victory on Sunday 23 July was undecided for a long time, before the gap between Jonas Vingegaard and his runner-up Tadej Pogacar widened. The two riders enlivened the race, as did several lively French teams, rewarded with stage victories or good placings of honour.

We liked it

The panache of the French teams

He was able to track the Vingegaard-Pogacar duo on the first stage and confirmed his good legs the following day. Victor Lafay offered Cofidis his first stage win since 2008 and the French spectators, the only French success of this Tour de France. The northern formation, whose sprinter Bryan Coquard made the top 10 five times, even scored a second victory thanks to Ion Izaguirre. Another French team to shine, AG2R-Citroën won the queen stage, in Courchevel, thanks to the Austrian Felix Gall, thus chaining a 4th Grande Boucle with at least one success.

If they didn’t triumph, the Vendée TotalEnergies team didn’t go far, with second place for Pierre Latour at Puy de Dôme, then second and third place for Mathieu Burgaudeau at Belleville-en-Beaujolais and Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc. As for Groupama-FDJ, the best French team in the world rankings, the balance is not ideal, without a podium in one stage. But there is a but”. His champion and future retiree, Thibaut Pinot, gave the spectators the most beautiful emotions of this Tour de France, unless it was the other way around, in his last mountain stage. Finally, if he is not part of a French team, Julian Alaphilippe is also seen very often ahead, since he is the second rider by number of kilometers covered in the breakaway.

Unpredictable stages with many different winners

Jasper Philipsen (4) and Tadej Pogacar (2) are the only two riders to have won more than one stage in this Tour de France. Apart from the sprint stages, which very often went to the Belgian from the Alpecin-Deceuninck team, the transition stages, rather intended for backpackers, all had different winners, such as Victor Lafay (in San Sebastian), Pello Bilbao (in Issoire), Ion Izagirre (in Belleville-en-Beaujolais) or Matej Mohoric (in Poligny). Even in the high mountains, the leaders were more concerned with their competitors in the general classification than with stage victories, allowing Jai Hindley (in Laruns), Michael Woods (in Puy de Dôme), Wout Poels (in Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc) or Felix Gall (in Courchevel) to pocket prestigious successes.

The Vingegaard-Pogacar duel that electrified the Tour

They were the two big favorites and assumed their status. Jonas Vingegaard, winner in 2022, and Tadej Pogacar, double winner in 2020 and 2021, fought from the first stages. And despite the almost one-minute lead taken by the Dane in Laruns, Tadej Pogacar was one of the great entertainers of the Tour by constantly attacking to buy time and get back to within seven small seconds of the yellow jersey before week three. Unfortunately for the suspense, Jonas Vingegaard completed a supersonic time trial, relegating his opponent to almost two minutes. Stunned, Tadej Pogacar suffered a failure the following day at the Col de la Loze, losing all hope of an eventual victory in Paris. For the honour, the Slovenian attacked again on the eve of the finish on the Champs-Elysées and offered himself a second stage win.

We didn’t like it

The indiscipline of the spectators

Each week of the Tour de France its overflowing with spectators. In the third stage, several riders complained about the pitons thrown on the road. “Know that you can fall and hurt yourself badly with your bullshit”enraged Lilian Calmejane (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) on Twitter, before crashing with flags caught in her wheels a few days later. Other careless spectators caused crashes by hitting the riders with their arms to take pictures, such as in the fifteenth stage, during which Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma), embarrassed by a spectator, found himself on the ground and caused other riders to fall. Finally, in the 20th stage, a spectator, too close to the riders, caused the fall of Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ) with his flag, hanging from the handlebars of the Frenchman.

The abysmal gaps in the general classification

There were Vingegaard, Pogacar and then… the others. If the first two gave us a good duel for two weeks, before the gap between them widened, the one with the other riders is abysmal. Their competitors could not fight, as the statistics show: the gap between the first and tenth in the general classification, Guillaume Martin, amounts to 26 minutes and 30 seconds, the second largest gap between the yellow jersey and the tenth in the 21st century, behind the 35 minutes and 59 seconds of the 2022 edition. A rider already an hour behind Jonas Vingegaard.

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