A site of legendary cycling battles that has not been raced on for 35 years
The Puy de Dôme, a site of legendary cycling battles that has not been raced on for 35 years, has served up glory and heartbreak again in the 2023 Tour de France.
Glory to Michael Woods, the 36-year-old Canadian rider for Israel Premier Tech, who powered from the break for his first Tour de France stage win. Heartbreak for Matteo Jorgenson, Movistar’s young American, who launched a devastating solo attack 48km from the line, swooping down to the foot of the 28km climb to the summit finish only to, on the final 4km with their gradients of 11-12%, wilt and fade in the merciless sun. Woods caught and passed him just before the line, and the dejected American did not even make the podium after his courageous attack.
The GC battle did not serve up anything as decisive on the hallowed slopes of the Puy, but when Tadej Pogačar lit the afterburners, Jonas Vingegaard could barely hold on, and he shipped another eight seconds to his great rival. It leaves the second and third weeks, during which the race takes an extended vacation in the Alps, delicately poised.
The Puy de Dôme has been venerated since prehistoric times and is the site of a Roman temple to Mercury, god of communication and of travellers; with this explosive return to cycle racing, the Tour de France has re-gained one of its sacred sites.