Tour de France 2023: Ineos Rider Kwiatkowski Takes Solo Victory on Grand Colombier Summit

Tour de France 2023: Ineos Rider Claims Solo Win on Grand Colombier Summit Finish

Michal Kwiatkowski, a former world road race champion and member of Ineos Grenadiers, secured a solo victory on stage 13 of the Tour de France. Meanwhile, Tadej Pogacar made a late burst to gain eight seconds on his competitor and defending champion, Jonas Vingegaard.

Kwiatkowski, who had previously won a stage at La Roche-sur-Foron in 2020, took the lead 12km from the finish line at the top of the challenging Grand Colombier climb in the Ain department. The 33-year-old rider was the last remaining member of the leading group, which had broken apart at the foot of the climb.

Regarding his unexpected victory, Kwiatkowski said, “I rank this pretty high, but it was a little bit unexpected because through the whole day I was thinking: ‘What am I doing here?’ What is my objective?’ So this win came completely unexpected.”

Although there were expectations of a fierce battle between Pogacar and Vingegaard on Bastille Day, the rivalry did not escalate until the final 500 meters of the climb. Pogacar, the winner on the same summit in 2020, made his move in pursuit of bonus seconds. Vingegaard, on the other hand, struggled to close the gap, allowing Pogacar to secure the victory and reduce the time between them to just nine seconds. However, Vingegaard remained confident and dismissed concerns of a potential Pogacar ambush.

For Kwiatkowski, this win marked a strong start to three days of mountain stages. He expressed his satisfaction, stating, “I had my worst day in this Tour on Thursday, riding at the back, really suffering. Today I had my best legs.”

As the breakaway riders navigated the challenging hairpin bends of the lower section of the climb, Kwiatkowski attacked alone and managed to stay ahead. He overcame the distance and steep gradients to give Ineos Grenadiers their first win in the 2023 Tour de France.

The upcoming mountain stages to Morzine and Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc will prove crucial for the young talents of Ineos Grenadiers, Carlos Rodriguez and Tom Pidcock, who currently hold fourth and eighth place, respectively. Pidcock, who won on Alpe d’Huez on Bastille Day in 2022, acknowledged Pogacar’s extraordinary power but remained determined.

“It’s a 17km climb and he just rode the end like it was a bunch sprint,” Pidcock said. “I was probably doing 700 watts or something, so god knows what he was doing.”

As Kwiatkowski celebrated his victory, the team could reflect on the promising performances of their young riders and anticipate the challenges ahead in the remaining stages of the Tour de France.

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As the race intensifies, the competition between the top riders becomes more fierce. Pogacar’s ability to close the gap on Vingegaard is a testament to his strength and determination. Meanwhile, Kwiatkowski’s unexpected win highlights the unpredictable nature of the sport. With the upcoming mountain stages, anything can happen, and the race is far from over.

The Tour de France continues to captivate cycling enthusiasts worldwide. Spectators eagerly await the next stages to witness the drama, athleticism, and enduring spirit of the riders. The battle for the yellow jersey remains wide open, and fans can expect thrilling moments as the race unfolds.