Jordi Meeus triumphs on Champs-Elysees as Vingegaard retains title – Tour de France

Tour de France 2023

Stage 21

Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) sailed through the final stage of the 2023 Tour de France to be crowned overall champion for the second year in a row.

Pogačar added to his reputation as the ‘people’s champion’, attacking multiple times in the final 40 kilometres but the sprinters teams shut down the cheeky moves. As the rain started to fall on the Champs Elyseés, the race judges decided to take the general classification times with one lap to go.

After a heated and seemingly even battle with Pogačar, Vingegaard put his mark on this edition of the Tour with his dominant performance on stage 16 time trial then twisted the knife on the Col de la Loze.

He tops the final podium by 7:29 ahead of Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) in a duel that will go down in the history books. Pogačar’s teammate Yates finished third overall at 10:56 back.

“It’s a feeling of being proud and happy – we’re winning it for the second time now. It’s really amazing. Today with all the Danish people here was really amazing. I have to say thanks not only to my team and family but to the whole of Denmark. They support me and I’m really grateful for this.”

Jordi Meeus celebrates his win with teammates Marco Haller and Danny Van Poppel.

“It’s been a long journey but it also went by so fast. We race every day and one day takes the other. It’s been a super hard race and a super good fight between me and Tadej. I enjoyed it all the way.”

Jordi Meeus (Bora-Hansgrohe) sprinted to victory on the Champs-Elysées, beating Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) and Dylan Groenewegen (Jayco-AlUla) to the line on stage 21 to take his first stage victory of the Tour de France.

Alpecin-Deceuninck may have led the way around the final corner, but Meeus was well positioned, surfing wheels. The neophyte Tour rider, edged out the green jersey at the line by less than a wheel length to win after a chaotic sprint.

“I knew in the previous sprints that there was more possible than the result I showed so far. Today everything went perfect and I’m super happy to finish it off,” said Meeus who finished top ten in three of the previous sprint stages this year.

“I felt quite good all day. The beginning was easy obviously but from the moment we went full gas my legs felt incredibly good. Then Marco Haller did a perfect job with positioning and he was also there. I had the wheel of Pedersen and I could come out of the slipstream and catch it on the line.”

Yellow Jersey winner Jonas Vingegaard with his Team Jumbo-Visma colleagues.

“It’s my first Tour and it was a super nice experience so far. To take the win today is just an indescribable feeling.”

For the third year in a row, Pogačar swept up the white jersey, with Carlos Rodriguez (Ineos Grenadiers) finishing as runner-up in the young rider’s classification.

Giulio Ciccone (Lidl-Trek) claimed the polka-dot jersey beating Felix Gall (AG2R Citroen) by 14 points to the climber’s award.

Philipsen had nonetheless secured the green jersey before the final stage, beating Mads Pedersen (Lidl-Trek) by 119 points at the top of the points standings. Finally, Jumbo-Visma won the team competition ahead of UAE Team Emirates, and Victor Campenaerts (Lotto Dstny) claimed the super-combativity award after an aggressive three weeks of racing.

In what is effectively a two-wheeled photo shoot on the 115.1-kilometre stage starting from the velodrome in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, a nod to the upcoming 2024 Olympic Games, to the usual finish on the Champs-Élysées, team after team took their turn on the front of the slowly pedalling bunch for the cameras.

Frederik Frison attacks on the Champs-Elysees.

Victor Campenaerts (Lotto Dstny) jumped off the front at the flag drop to celebrate being awarded the super-combativity trophy. He quickly sat up with a smile and rejoined the peloton.

The opening 60.6 kilometres saw the peloton pass in front of the Château de Versailles before heading to Paris via Meudon and Issy-les-Moulineaux, tackling the final climb of the race, the fourth-category Côte du Pavé des Gardes, after 42.8 kilometres.

Celebrating his polka-dot jersey, Giulio Ciccone (Lidl-Trek) received a slow lead out from his Lidl-Trek teammates to take to the lone KOM point of the day.

After that – the final 54.5 kilometres of the stage once the riders pass through the finish line for the first time – the racing began in Paris, with eight laps of the finishing circuits left to decide the winner of stage 21.

The final jersey wearers: Green jersey Jasper Philipsen, Yellow jersey Jonas Vingegaard, polka-dot jersey Giulio Ciccone and White jersey Tadej Pogacar.

The Jumbo-Visma team rode on the front gradually amping the pace as the peloton made its way to the final circuits.

The first two laps of the Champs-Élysées circuit saw a flurry of attacks from the peloton. First up the road was Pascal Eenkhoorn then his Lotto Dstny teammate Frederik Frison as each took their chance to escape.

Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) attacked multiple times in the final 40 kilometres. The first time, he was joined by Nathan Van Hooydonck (Jumbo-Visma) who sat on his wheel, refusing to work. More riders tried to jump across to the Slovenian’s wheel but the lack of cooperation doomed the moves.

Simon Clarke (Israel-Premier Tech) launched the next big move, at 30 kilometers to go. He was soon joined by Nelson Oliveira (Movistar) and Frison. Working well together, the trio pushed their gap up to 18 seconds before being reeled in 20 kilometres later.

The GC top three of Jonas Vingegaard,Tadej Pogacar and Adam Yates.

No organisation at the front of the peloton led to more short-lived attacks in the final lap, with speeds hitting 64 km per hour. The Jumbo-Visma team sat up to celebrate their overall victory with three kilometres to go, leaving the sprinters’ teams to fight out the stage victory.

A mixture of teams – including Alpecin-Deceuninck, Lidl-Trek, Jayco-AlUla and Intermarché-Circus-Wanty – were up front heading into the final two kilometres, with no one team able to wrest control and establish a full lead out at the front.

Not done with racing, Pogačar led the final sprint onto the Champs Elysées. He was overtaken by Mathieu van der Poel leading out Philipsen. Dylan Groenewegen (Jayco-AlUla) went early and hit the front, forcing Philipsen to go along the barriers.

Mads Pedersen (Lidl-Trek), meanwhile, went down the middle but Meeus was on his wheel and came late with a perfect bike throw to the line. He rode it perfectly, with a bike throw, while Philipsen was forced to come late and from behind.

Stage 21 result:

1. Jordi Meeus (Bel) Bora-Hansgrohe 02:56:13

2. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Deceuninck all at same time

3. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Jayco-AlUla

4. Mads Pedersen (Den) Lidl-Trek

5. Cees Bol (Ned) Astana Qazaqstan

6. Biniam Girmay (Eri) Intermarché – Circus – Wanty

7. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Cofidis

8. Søren Wærenskjold (Nor) Uno-X

9. Corbin Strong (NZ) Israel-Premier Tech

10. Luca Mozzato (Ita) Arkéa Samsic

Final General Classification:

1. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma in 82h 05′ 42”

2. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates, at 7′ 29”

3. Adam Yates (GBr) UAE Team Emirates, at 10′ 56”

4. Simon Yates (Gbr) Jayco-AIUla, at 12′ 23”

5. Carlos Rodriguez (Spa) Ineos Grenadiers, at 13′ 17”

6. Pello Bilbao (Esp) Bahrain Victorious, at 13′ 27”

7. Jai Hindley (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 14′ 44”

8. Felix Gall (Aut) AG2R Citroën, at 16′ 09”

9. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, at 23′ 08”

10. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis 26′ 30”

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