Tour de France 2023: Vingegaard and Pogačar Fireworks End In Stalemate as Rodriguez Poaches Stage 14 Victory

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Tadej Pogacar leads Jonas Vingegaard near the top of the Col de Jeux Plane on Stage 14 of the Tour de France 2023.
© A.S.O./Pauline Ballet. Edited from the original.

Carlos Rodriguez (Ineos Grenadiers) claimed a brilliant victory on Stage 14 with a nerveless descent into Morzine as the electrifying duel between Tadej Pogačar and Jonas Vingegaard ultimately ended in a stalemate.

The final climb up the hors catégorie Col de Joux Plane delivered high drama as anticipated, but neither Pogačar nor Vingegaard could land a knockout blow in what became a cagey, tactical contest.

Vingegaard will certainly be the happier when the dust settles, not just for maintaining his lead but also for the psychological blow of beating Pogačar in the sprint for bonus seconds at the top of the Col de Joux Plane – although the Slovenian’s own attack moments before was frustratingly thwarted by an ill-placed pair of photographer’s motorbikes.

Pogačar was unable to force a gap from Vingegaard on the descent, but took the bonus time for second place to cancel out the Dane’s advantage from the summit.

Pogačar’s attempts to sow chaos foiled again

The momentum shifted back and forth between Pogačar’s UAE-Emirates and Vingegaard’s Jumbo-Visma right from the foot of the topsy-turvy ascent of the Col de Joux Plane.

Jumbo-Visma appeared to have handed over the initiative when Wout van Aert cracked early on, only to hatch a truly remarkable recovery to surge back to the front of the pack and set a blistering pace to turn the tables back on UAE-Emirates.

Yates then took over for a savage pull to put Jumbo-Visma back on the defensive, setting the platform for a Pogačar attack that saw him open a gap to Vingegaard while dropping Rodriguez and the last of the surviving domestiques.

However, Pogačar failed to decisively drop his rival as Vingegaard’s diesel engine kicked in, and the Slovenian eventually relented to allow him back onto his wheel with the intention of setting up a sprint for the bonus points at the summit.

Their duel turned into a cagey waiting game as the pair marked each other up the high slopes of the Joux Plane, allowing Rodriguez and Yates – who had been over a minute behind – back within sniffing distance.

Pogačar then launched yet another attack around 500 meters from the summit, but was infuriatingly blocked in by a pair of poorly-positioned press motorbikes on the road in front of him in what he dejectedly described as a “wasted bullet”.

A subsequent lapse in concentration then allowed Vingegaard to steal a march on the sprint to the summit – for which Pogačar would normally be the overwhelming favorite – allowing vital bonus seconds to slip away.

Rodriguez cashes in on Jeux Plane Games

Carlos Rodriguez climbs the Col de Jeux Plane on Stage 14.
© A.S.O./Pauline Ballet

As the Tour’s dynamic duo slowed to stalk each other up ahead, Carlos Rodriguez found a second wind to pick their pockets and pinch the stage victory for himself.

Rodriguez – alongside Pogačar’s domestique Adam Yates – caught the race leaders just after the summit. Instead of settling on their wheels to recover, however, he surged straight past them and immediately attacked the descent.

Neither Vingegaard nor Pogačar seemed willing to risk exposing themselves by fully committing to hunting Rodriguez down, and the Spaniard’s rapid descent saw him claim the Stage 14 victory on his Tour de France debut.

His finish-line celebrations not only marked back-to-back wins for Ineos Grenadiers after Michał Kwiatkowski’s efforts on Stage 13 in what is developing into an excellent Tour for the British team, but also catapulted him up the GC leaderboard into third position overall.

Jonas Vingegaard remains in the yellow jersey, marginally extending his advantage over Pogačar to ten seconds in what is developing into one of the closest Tours in recent memory.

Huge crash sees race neutralized early on

Stage 14 of the 2023 Tour de France is neutralized after an early crash.
© A.S.O./Charly Lopez

Away from the battle for yellow, the other major drama came in the form of a major crash early in the day which saw the race neutralized for around twenty minutes.

Louis Meintjes (Intermarché–Circus–Wanty), Ruben Guerreiro, and Antonio Pedrero (both Movistar) were forced to abandon immediately, while Esteban Chaves attempted to soldier on before capitulating further down the road.

Romain Bardet (DSM) and James Shaw (EF-Education EasyPost) also abandoned following crashes later in the stage.

Carlos Rodriguez speaks to the press after winning Stage 14 of the Tour de France 2023.
© A.S.O./Charly Lopez

Tour de France 2023: Stage 14 Results

1. Carlos Rodriguez (Ineos Grenadiers/SPA): 3:58:45

2. Tadej Pogačar (UAE-Team Emirates/SLO): + 5 seconds

3. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma/DEN): Same time

4. Adam Yates (UAE-Team Emirates/GBR): + 10 seconds

5. Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma/USA): + 57 seconds

6. Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe/AUS): + 1 minute, 46 seconds

7. Felix Gall (AG2R-Citroen/AUT): Same time

8. Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious/SPA): + 3 minutes, 19 seconds

9. Simon Yates (Jayco-AlUla/GBR): + 3 minutes, 21 seconds

10. Guillaume Martin (Cofidis/FRA): + 5 minutes, 57 seconds

Jonas Vingegaard at the yellow jersey presentation after Stage 14 of the 2023 Tour de France.
© A.S.O./Charly Lopez

Tour de France 2023 General Classification Standings After Stage 14

1. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma/DEN): 53:48:50

2. Tadej Pogačar (UAE-Team Emirates/SLO): + 10 secondss

3. Carlos Rodriguez (Ineos Grenadiers/SPA): + 4 minutes, 43 seconds

4. Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe/AUS): + 4 minutes, 44 seconds

5. Adam Yates (UAE-Team Emirates/GBR): + 5 minutes, 20 seconds

6. Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma/USA): + 8 minutes, 15 seconds

7. Simon Yates (Jayco-AlUla/GBR): + 8 minutes, 32 seconds

8. Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious/SPA): + 8 minutes, 51 seconds

9. Felix Gall (AG2R-Citroen/AUT): + 12 minutes, 26 seconds

10. David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ/FRA): + 12 minutes, 56 seconds

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As a UESCA-certified cycling coach, Rory loves cycling in all its forms, but is a road cyclist at heart. He clocked early on that he had much more of a talent for coaching and writing about bikes than he ever did racing them. In recent years, the focus of Rory's love affair with cycling has shifted to bikepacking - a discipline he found well-suited to his "enthusiasm-over-talent" approach.

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