Vingegaard Destroys Tadej Pogačar in Week 3 | Tour de France 2023 Stages 16 & 17

Combloux – France – cycling – Jonas Vingegaard Team Jumbo Visma pictured during 110th Tour de France (2.UWT) – stage 16 from Passy to Combloux ITT (22.4km) – Photo: Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos © 2023

Jonas Vingegaard performed exceptionally well at the beginning of this third week of the Tour de France, winning the time-trial on Stage 16 with one of the greatest performances of all time, and on the Queen Stage the next day being the fastest from the GC group. In this article we will take a look at both performances, that have practically ended this year’s Tour de France GC fight.

Stage 16 ITT

22.07.2023. This article and data included in it have been changed after we have found two mistakes in the calculation. There was a timing mistake on PCS for the Time Trial, which we used as basis for our calculation (without verifying them thoroughly enough). Additionally we received new information regarding the exact weight of some time trial bikes.

After the second rest day, this year’s sole time-trial ended with a climb up Côte de Domancy (6.05 km, 6.84%) after a rolling course beforehand. Jonas Vingegaard did a historic performance, beating Pogačar on the 22.4 km course by 1:38 min and everyone else by at least 2:51 min. According to our calculations, Vingegaard did 7.38 ᵉW/Kg for 13:31 min. This performance would put it as one of the greatest of all time.

The Dane did the climb on a time-trial bike and we included in the calculation a lower CdA than usual and back-tested the calculations on different riders who posted their power on Strava. However standing behind the accuracy of the calculation is more difficult than usual due to the use of a time-trial bike and his high speed on the climb. Vingegaard averaged 26,86 km/h which is incredible on a 6.84% gradient.

Combloux - France - cycling - Jonas Vingegaard (DEN - Jumbo - Visma) pictured during 110th Tour de France (2.UWT) - stage 16 from Passy to Combloux ITT (22.4km) - Photo: Kei Tsuji/SCA/Cor Vos © 2023

Using the most conservative inputs, Vingegaard could have done 'only' 7.25 ᵉW/Kg if he was in an extremely aero position throughout the climb. Regardless, it is clear that he did a huge performance as Tadej Pogačar lost 77 seconds on the short climb. Pogačar lost some time in a bike change but the road bike is much lighter and it should be easier to push more power out on it. This makes Vingegaard's performance even more incredible that he did such high watts on a time-trial bike. Pogačar did 6.68 ᵉW/Kg on Côte de Domancy but without the time lost in a bike change it would be around 6.80-6.85 ᵉW/Kg, which is still significantly lower than what Vingegaard did.

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As you can see below, by pure w/kg standards this is one of the greatest performance of all time by Vingegaard.

It is also one of the greatest pure w/kg time-trial performance on a climb. Usually mountain time-trials include a single climb but Vingegaard did the warm-up in the first 19 minutes of stage 16 time-trial. In the modern era there are not many mountain time-trials like in the 1990s and early 2000s. Only seven riders, Jonas Vingegaard (Cote de Domancy 2023), Jose Neves (Senhora da Graca 2021), Egan Bernal, Primož Roglič and Richie Porte (all Ollon Villars 2018), Nairo Quintana and Fabio Aru (Monte Grappa 2014) have broke the red Generational trend-line with fresh legs or at least a paced effort in a mountain time-trial.

Stage 17 Col de la Loze

Stage 17 was the Queen Stage of the 2023 Tour with multiple huge climbs and 5000+ metres of elevation gain. After Vingegaard's massive performance, multiple Top 10 GC riders, Pello Bilbao, Felix Gall, Simon Yates and David Gaudu were allowed to be in a breakaway as the gaps were so huge after the ITT.

Tour de France stage 17 profile by La Flamme Rouge

The big question was if Pogačar would do something and respond to Vingegaard's victory the day before. In the GC group, Col de la Loze was mainly paced by INEOS with Castorviejo, Fraile and Kwiatkowski. The pace before the climb was high. Kwiatkoski spent 4,139 kilojoules for 4:20h before the big test with a high intensity of 14.79 kj/kg/h. After already a hard race Pogačar dropped surprisingly early on Col de la Loze and cracked, losing a lot of time. After the Slovenian lost the contact from the GC group, Jumbo-Visma started pacing hard in the group with Sepp Kuss.

Pogačar dropped by INEOS

Sepp Kuss did a hard pull with his teammate Vingegaard patiently sitting behind the American Eagle, waiting to launch. No one had a chance against the Dane on Col de la Loze. Jumbo-Visma even had Wilco Kelderman and Tiesj Benoot in the breakaway as a satellite rider, waiting for Vingegaard.

Sepp Kuss doing a hard pull

Due to a car stuck amongst the crowd, Vingegaard lost around 17 seconds on the climb which was the last 11.2 km at 8.54% of Col de la Loze from Méribel, the same as in the 2020 Tour. Vingegaard did this section of the climb in 32:59 min, while Miguel Angel Lopez in the 2020 Tour was almost a minute slower and did it in 33:51 min. If the car did not stop the Dane, the difference could have been bigger.

Kelderman and Vingegaard stopped by a stuck car

Vingegaard pushed 6.21 ᵉW/Kg for 32:59 min. Pogačar completely broke down and did this segment in 37:59 with 5.35 ᵉW/Kg. His performance was so below par that our normal graph needed to be extended. In the final 7 kilometres of the climb Pogačar slowed down significantly, doing 5.20 ᵉW/Kg. Vingeggard flew in the high altitude section, doing 6.37 ᵉW/Kg for the last 22:02.

The stage winner Felix Gall was the second fastest rider up the Col de la Loze steep section and only lost to Vingegaard in a virtual battle. The Austrian won his first Grand Tour stage with a strong performance of 5.99 ᵉW/Kg for 34:09 min at average altitude at 1795 metres above sea level, after being in the breakaway all stage.

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  1. Great analysis as always. I’m curious as to why Ciccone’s numbers on the Côte de Domancy were so low – I thought that he did the climb a few seconds faster than Vingegaard? Or was the timed segment of the climb for the mountains classification shorter than the full climb that you used in this analysis? I’m guessing that he must have had a very high level performance for the section that he went full gas on, although Vingegaard’s performance overall is much more impressive given that he couldn’t take the rest of the stage easy like Ciccone did (not to mention Ciccone switched to his road bike before the climb).

  2. Can I please ask why you removed the section where you initially wrote about the Festina era? And that Jonas is the only rider which crossed the generational line twice since then? I consider that as an important piece of information

    1. It was titled “Best performances since the 1998 Festina Scandal”.
      I don’t think it’s accusing anybody of anything, just putting into perspective the type of effort we have seen.
      But IMO (and I’m not accusing either), it is hard to believe…
      Too good to be true

  3. Thanks for the article it is very interesting. Thoughts on doping? How can someone be so vastly superior to other world class riders? Seems hard to believe that gaps this big can exist at the pinnacle of a sport.

    1. As I wrote in my upper comment, they initially included in the article a very nice section about Festina era and how that was the golden age of climbing. They also wrote an important piece of information that Jonas is the only rider, since then, that has crossed the generational line twice. However, now suddenly that part of the article has been removed…

  4. Jonas also did a 7.9W/Kg on the first climb: Rue de la Cascade. That effort was a 4min something effort.

    1. It was close to 8.0 W/kg for the timed climb that took him 6:47.
      Also quite unbelievable if you consider it’s with a TT bike.

    2. It was very close to 8.0 W/kg for the times climb that took him 6:47.
      Also unbelievable to produce that with a TT bike in a 9% steep hill.

  5. So, yesterday Jonas did a maybe top 5 and definitely a top 10 climbing performance ever after going almost all out for 20 minutes prior to that. And then followed that up on Col de la Loze with 6,37 w/kg for 22 minutes at altitude, altitude adjusted that should be around Marie Blanque or even better. It’s strange how he got dropped 3 times by Pogacar yet was still very confident that the difference at the end would be minutes, not seconds…

  6. Just one thing for all of you screaming “doping!”. The performance enhancement you get from EPO and bloc transfusions is much more prevalent in long climbs where fatigue ticks in. So you would except that it would be on the short climbs the crazy records would be broken first.

    1. Epo? hoy día ni se deben contemplar fluidos, llevan tiempo sin detectar la manipulacion genética y menos la estimulacion craneal, ahora quien sabe que mas vainas hayan metidas, pero por fluidos no será.

  7. Impecable trabajo. Aquí toca tragar entero o pasaremos un mal rato. Lo que podría llegar a preocupar es que hace apenas 3 años se avisoraron 2 monstruos y hoy se consolida 1 muy superior en tan corto tiempo, si la tendencia continua el año que viene aparecerá uno aun mas fuerte que lo desbanque y tendremos que seguir tragando entero.

  8. Greatest itt of all time, ahead of guys on epo, transfusions, etc etc… by a 60 kilo rider avg 450w on a tt bike

    Media must think we are all stupid lol

  9. Mille fois merci pour tous ces éléments de réflexion. J’ai passé des années à m’émerveiller devant les performances des coureurs du tour de France, la fabuleuse épopée Festina, la machine Hindurain, l’inarrêtable Lance, le fantastique Pantani… et j’ai vraiment eu l’impression d’avoir été floué, escroqué, d’avoir perdu mon temps. 3 semaines de ma vie pendant plus de 10 ans… ça doit bien faire une année entière ! Quelle immense déception ! J’avais juré qu’on ne m’y reprendrait plus et pourtant l’année dernière j’avais jeté quelques regards sur la course, et cette année, j’ai suivi en direct toutes les étapes retrouvant mon enthousiasme d’antan… mais c’était avant le contre-la-montre d’hier, avant l’ascension du col aujourd’hui… plus de 41 km/h de moyenne, Marvels devrait sponsoriser Vingegaard et moi, aller au cinéma pour voir les aventures de flash !

  10. I’ll start this comment with a premise: I don’t know if there’s something fishy in these performances this year. Overall, they are incredibly fast and it does raise the need to be at least cautious about the performances.
    But I’ll also say, despite being a Pogacar fan, I don’t see why Jonas’ performances would need to raise more eyebrows than Pogacar’s, ultimately. If you look at it rationally, the differences between them are massive. Jonas ONLY trains to peak during these 3 weeks. Tadej tried to peak for Flanders, and then again for the Tour. That’s a tougher ask. Then you add the injury and competitive break. That’s a second massive advantage for Jonas. So why would we be surprised that Jonas ends up being in better form than anyone else in the field? Yeah he beat WVA by 3 mins, but WVA peaks for cyclo-cross season, then for the spring classics, and then goes to the Tour!
    Really, if you think about it, the most remarkable performance this year, might be Pogacar’s. That he could keep it to 10 seconds until the 3rd week, put so much pressure on Jonas, with this ultra tough and selective parcours this year, with his disrupted preparation and the fact he peaked already once this year for Flanders, the guy is a freaking superhero. Now I’m excited about 2024. I want a scenario where Tadej skips the spring classics, focuses on the TDF, Jonas does the same, Remco finally comes to the TDF, and Primoz goes to Ineos to go to the TDF as a leader. And we’ll have the most insane Tour ever. Please make it happen, gods of cycling.

  11. Sorry but that 7.6 w/kg value is 100% unachievable without doping and is obviously wrong, and you should start posting the input values you use, because doing calculations for the tt both manually and using this calculator…, using extremely conservative inputs (bike 9kg (it’s probably under 8kgs), Cda 0.19 (very high for a small guy like Jonas and a team that studies everything in details, including radio placement, to get an advantage), 1.5% drive train loss (An amateur $6000 bike is far more efficient than that), 0.004 Crr (that’s a ridiculously high value even for normal tires), 6.85% gradient, 27.2 km/h) I get ~7.1 w/kg.
    To give an idea of how conservative are the numbers I used, Jonas said he was pushing 380 watts in the flat section… with this value to go as fast as he did in the interval between T1 and T2 (avg gradient -1.5%) instead of 380 he would need to push 415 watts…

  12. There should be a transparent discussion of the analysis detailed here in the post Tour recap podcast. This article reflects for many people what they have seen with their eyes, and so hopefully Patrick’s contractual obligations do not restrain an impartial assessment of what happened on stage 16.

  13. bonjour,
    Pouvez m’indiquer sur quel site vous prenez les chronos des ascensions.
    Bien cordialement

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