Tadej Pogačar Drops Vingegaard on Puy de Dôme | Tour de France 2023 Stage 9

Puy de Dome – France – cycling – Tadej Pogacar Team UAE Emirates – Jonas Vingegaard Team Jumbo Visma pictured during 110th Tour de France (2.UWT) – stage 9 from Saint-Leonard-de-Noblat to Puy de Dome (182.4km) – Photo: POOL/Cor Vos © 2023

Tadej Pogačar is in the best shape of his career once again dropped Jonas Vingegaard, this time on a climb that suited the Dane perfectly. The UAE Team Emirates superstar is flying and the battle for the yellow jersey will be very exciting in the coming two weeks.

Tour de France stage 9 2023 profile

After Tadej Pogačar beat Jonas Vingegaard on Stage 6, neither Jumbo nor UAE Team Emirates were willing to control the breakaway as both teams probably were not sure if their leader would win. Vingegaard was the favourite as the last 4.2 kilometres of the climb were at 11.92% gradient, which is perfect for lightweight climbers.

The pace in the peloton was not high throughout the day. Emanuel Buchmann spent 3,067 kilojoules in 4:02h, which is 12.84 kj/kg/h – perfect for high watt performances. Jumbo-Visma did not change their tactics and set the climb at a hard pace. Wout van Aert, Wilco Kelderman and Sepp Kuss shredded the GC group until the strongest climbers were left. After the American Eagle finished his job, Vingegaard did not attack immediately – it was not a surprise to see him being more defensive after what happened on Stage 6. The pace on the shallow part was quite high – 6.20 ᵉW/Kg for 20:21 minutes thanks the Kelderman and Van Aert.

Sepp Kuss riding hard for Jonas Vingegaard

Sensing weakness in Vingegaard, Pogačar attacked hard on 12% gradient against a lightweight Dane and it worked. Vingegaard slowly lost contact to Pogačar’s back wheel but the gap was not big. However if the Slovenian can drop the maillot jaune on steep ramps then he should theoretically be even more comfortable on shallower gradients against Vingegaard.

Pogačar attacks Vingegaard

It was Pogačar’s career best pure ᵉW/Kg performance. The Slovenian finally broke the red generational trendline and is in his career best shape as shown at the end of the Tourmalet on Thursday. 6.50 ᵉW/Kg for 35:11 min on the full Puy de Dome is very impressive. On the steep part Pogačar did 7.00 ᵉW/Kg for 14:50 min, which was after 6.20ᵉW/Kg for 20:21. If the UAE superstar keeps this form it will be almost impossible for Vingegaard to do anything against him on any terrain. If the climb would be paced more evenly (impossible with the asymmetrical gradients), the average ᵉW/Kg would have been even more impressive.

As expected, the record by José Patrocinio Jiménez set in a 1983 time-trial, was beaten - Pogačar improving on the old record by 58 seconds. The Slovenian could have gone even faster as the final 4 minutes were extremely fast and there was a slowing in the group when Kuss pulled off. Pogačar attacked 3 minutes and 55 seconds from the finish and in this short period of time put 51 seconds into Simon Yates and Tom Pidcock who were both together in the leading group.

Vingegaard still remains the GC leader but his lead now is only 17 seconds. Pogačar has improved since his disappointment on Marie Blanque. The battle for the maillot jaune will be a close one and the time-trial on stage 16 might decide the Tour. The stage was won by Michael Woods from a breakaway after he caught Matteo Jorgenson in the final kilometre who attacked early and struggled on the steep gradients at the end. Woods saved his energy for the steep part and did it in 16:57 min with 6.14 ᵉW/Kg. A second slower than Thibaut Pinot, Louis Meintjes and David Gaudu from the GC group.

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    1. I think his weight is high on Strava. Iirc it’s set at 63 but he probably is 2-3kg lighter is my guess.

  1. Do you have your historic (or just 2023) climbing performance database available somewhere? I love the shared graphs, but would like to play with the raw data myself.

  2. So it’s clear that he was bluffing about his form. The LRCP preview (which I agreed with) has been totally contradicted. A rider is able to find his career best shape coming from a rehabilitation, and suddenly drops the best climber in the world (who prepared the tour throughout all the year) in his terrain, after being dropped badly the day before. UAE trainers and doctors clearly did their best to put Tadej in this sort of shape.

    1. I totally agree.
      They’ll have to rewrite the book on how to prepare for the Tour.
      “Chapter one. Wrist fracture. We recommend a hammer of sorts.”
      “Chapter two. Interval training in the backyard an a spinning bike in the basement ”

      I don’t get how it’s even possible to do career best performances based on a suboptimal training.

      And, even more curiously, career best performances (Tourmalet and Puy de Dôme) after having been meh on stages 1, 2 and 5.

      How is such improvement even possible overnight?

      (I’m aware of my connotations; I don’t wish to accuse anyone of anything; I’m just struggling to explain what seems inexplicable to me)

  3. My theory on all of this is that many of these riders are actually too fatigued. If you look at Pogacar’s spring program, it’s super intense. The rest from the injury was actually good for him and that is why we are seeing historic bests. If I’m correct he will continue to ride his way into the Tour and we will see further career best efforts on climbs. Time will tell.

    1. Some random comments…first I thought it seemed that Pogacar didn’t really crack on stage 5…more just didn’t have the ability to go with Vingegaard, and even kind of rode with group at the end – where JV emptied the tank.

      To the last comment I actually wonder if JV has gone to lean. He looks freaking ridiculous even for a TDF favorite. Could he be too lean? No matter how much more advanced nutrition is now – it seems a very hard task to stay ahead of the demands the race places on him.

      Lastly – can I just say that Tadej is a breath of fresh air? I mean at least they guy seems to be a good dude. Jonas seems like Cadel Evans level sour. Which has zero impact on his ability to ride a bike!

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