Tour de France 2023: Kwiatkowski Takes Brilliant Stage 13 Victory on Grand Colombier, Pogačar Intensifies GC Contest

Photo of author
Written by
reviewed by Rory McAllister
Last Updated:
Michał Kwiatkowski slumps over his handlebars after winning Stage 13 of the 2023 Tour de France.
© A.S.O./Pauline Ballet

In what turned out to be an electrifying Stage 13 of the 2023 Tour de France, Michał Kwiatkowski of Ineos Grenadiers broke away from the peloton to achieve a well-deserved victory atop the Grand Colombier.

The battle commenced right from the start at Châtillon-sur-Chalaronne, with the peloton showcasing a blistering average speed of over 50 km/h.

As the riders approached the 110th km, a massive breakaway, formed by some of the top climbers of the Tour, started to shake things up.

Kwiatkowski managed the last climb perfectly, catching and overtaking the leading trio composed of Maxim Van Gils (Lotto Dstny), Harold Tejada (Astana Qazaqstan Team), and James Shaw (EF Education-EasyPost) in a swift move.

His efforts resulted in a gap that the peloton, even with UAE’s relentless pursuit, couldn’t bridge.

The UAE team bossed the yellow jersey group, dictating a surprisingly conservative pace up the climb to build a platform for an attack by their superstar leader Tadej Pogačar.

Their efforts, however, were overshadowed by Kwiatkowski’s exceptional performance and Pogačar was left battling for crucial seconds in the General Classification (GC).

Pogačar Closes Gap on Vingegaard

Meanwhile, the battle for the yellow jersey took an electrifying turn in the final moments of the stage.

Team UAE-Emirates took control of the group from the base of the Grand Colombier, but set an unexpectedly conservative pace to the surprise of most watching.

Despite failing to reel in the break, Tadej Pogačar demonstrated his mettle by eventually making a late surge, securing an 8-second gain (4 seconds at the finish line plus 4 from bonification) over his main rival Jonas Vingegaard.

This final charge, coming just 500 meters from the finish, displayed Pogačar’s resilience and his team’s strategic efforts to salvage time gains.

Throughout the stage, the UAE team demonstrated a strong effort, leading the peloton and trying to manage the gap to Kwiatkowski.

Their tactics, while not sufficient to capture the stage win, did help Pogačar to chip away at the lead held by Vingegaard, narrowing the gap at the top of the GC to just 9 seconds.

“One of the hardest efforts in my life”

Michał Kwiatkowski, upon securing his victory, reflected on the effort it took to claim the win.

“[I was] not alone, I had 18 friends in the breakaway! Obviously, I had a nice advantage on the final climb, but it was a crazy experience, to be honest.”

The Polish rider, part of a group of 19 breakaway riders, did not initially believe the group would be able to fight for the stage win, given the intensity of the chase by the UAE team.

However, the strength in numbers turned out to be a key advantage, allowing them to maintain a strong pace on the flats.

“I think UAE just let too many guys in the front – and I just found probably the best legs I ever had in my life.”

The final push up the Grand Colombier proved to be one of the hardest of Kwiatkowski’s career, as he managed to keep pace with the GC contenders, securing a memorable stage victory.

He acknowledged the bitter-sweet memories associated with the Grand Colombier from previous years, especially related to his team-mate Egan Bernal whose challenge disintegrated on the climb in 2020, but emphasized the uniqueness of today’s victory.

“Winning on top of the mountain like this on Grand Colombier, obviously I had memories here… but today, the last effort was probably one of the hardest in my life, but I managed myself well, paced myself well and knew that was going to be a very long effort.”

Tour de France 2023: Stage 13 Results

1. Michal Kwiatkowski (Ineos Grenadiers/POL): 3 Hours, 17 Minutes, 33 Seconds

2. Maxim Van Gils (Lotto Dstny/BEL): + 47 secs

3. Tadej Pogačar (UAE-Emirates/SLO): + 50 secs

4. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma/DEN): + 54 secs

5. Thomas Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers/GB): + 1 Minute, 03 secs

6. Jai Hindley (BORA-hansgrohe/AUS): + 1 Minute, 05 secs

7. James Shaw (EF Education-EasyPost/GB): + 1 Minute, 05 secs

8. Harold Tejada (Astana Qazaqstan Team/COL): + 1 Minute, 05 secs

9. Simon Yates (Team Jayco-AlUla/GB): + 1 Minute, 14 secs

10. Adam Yates (UAE-Emirates/GB): + 1 Minute, 18 secs

Tour de France 2023 General Classification Standings After Stage 13

1. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma/DEN): 53 Hours, 48 Minutes, 50 Seconds

2. Tadej Pogačar (UAE-Emirates/SLO): + 9 secs

3. Jai Hindley (BORA-hansgrohe/AUS): + 2 min, 51 secs

4. Carlos Rodriguez (Ineos Grenadiers/SPA): + 4 mins, 48 secs

5. Adam Yates (UAE-Emirates/GB): + 5 mins, 3 secs

6. Simon Yates (Team Jayco-AlUla/GB): + 5 mins, 4 secs

7. Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious/SPA): + 4 mins, 34 secs

8. Thomas Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers/GB): + 5 mins, 35 secs

9. David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ/FRA): + 6 mins, 52 secs

10. Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma/USA): + 7 mins, 11 secs

Photo of author
Quentin's background in bike racing runs deep. In his youth, he won the prestigious junior Roc d'Azur MTB race before representing Belgium at the U17 European Championships in Graz, Austria. Shifting to road racing, he then competed in some of the biggest races on the junior calendar, including Gent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders, before stepping up to race Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Paris-Roubaix as an U23. With a breakthrough into the cut-throat environment of professional racing just out of reach, Quentin decided to shift his focus to embrace bike racing as a passion rather than a career. Now writing for BikeTips, Quentin's experience provides invaluable insight into performance cycling - though he's always ready to embrace the fun side of the sport he loves too and share his passion with others.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.