Jonas Vingegaard powers closer to Tour de France title with dominant stage 16 time trial victory

The reigning champion now leads by 1-48 in the overall standings ahead of Tadej Pogačar

Jonas Vingegaard wins tour de france stage 16 time trial 2023
(Image credit: Getty)

Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) is in the driving seat to win his second Tour de France title, after beating his rival Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) by one minute and 38 seconds in Tuesday's uphill individual time trial.

The Dane was the only rider to average in excess of 40km/h around the 22.4km Alpine course, ultimately clocking 41.4km/h at the finish line in Combloux with a time of 32-36.

"I was feeling great today," Vingegaard said in his post-race interview. "I think it's the best time trial I've ever done. I'm really proud of what I did today and I'm really happy about the victory."

The Jumbo-Visma rider, who went into stage 16 with a GC advantage of just 10 seconds, now leads the race by 1-48, tightening his grip on the yellow jersey. 

"Today, I even surprised myself with the time trial I did. I didn't expect to do so well in the time trial today," he said. "There are still a lot of hard stages to come. We have to keep fighting over the next days and we're looking forward to it."

The victory marked Vingegaard's first in a WorldTour time trial, and the first for his team at this year's Tour de France. His Jumbo-Visma team-mate, Wout van Aert, came third, 2-51 adrift of the stage winner. 

There were changes in the overall standings, too, as Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates) took back 24 seconds on Carlos Rodríguez (Ineos Grenadiers) and bunnyhopped the Spaniard into the final podium spot. 

How it happened

Drama came from the gun on stage 16. Leaving the start ramp in Passy, where conditions were hot and dry, three of the opening 15 riders slid out on the first corner, just 200m into the course. The trio involved - John Degenkolb, Nils Eekhoff (dsm-firmenich) and Alexis Renard (Cofidis) - all brushed themselves off and remounted their bikes, but the crashes sent a warning message to those that followed. 

First down the ramp, Michael Mørkøv (Soudal Quick-Step) was also the first to finish, setting the initial benchmark of 39-46, and averaging 33.8km/h. Quickly, though, the times began to tumble, and the Dane’s team-mate Rémi Cavagna went into the hot seat, shaving four minutes off the opening time.

The Frenchman’s time went mostly unchallenged for the majority of the afternoon. The weather forecasts promised rain, but the clouds never formed, leaving the stage favourites with a dry run at the course. 

Still looking for his first victory at this year's Tour, Wout van Aert was the man to end Cavagna's reign in the provisional standings. The Belgian, who has now clocked four top-three finishes, came in at 35-27, averaging just short of 38km/h. 

When Vingegaard and Pogačar set off, however, Van Aert knew his days were numbered. 

As expected, the duo took to the course with intent. Just 10 seconds separated them at the start of the day, and with opportunities falling away before this Sunday in Paris, Pogačar knew he had to do something special. Sadly for him, Vingegaard was on a blinder. 

Jonas Vingegaard in the time trial of tour de france 2023

(Image credit: Getty)

Immediately, the Dane began closing the gap to his two-minute man. By the halfway point, he was 30 seconds up on the UAE Team Emirates rider, and he was only getting faster. 

At the foot of the Côte de Domancy, a 2.5km kicker pitched at near 10%, Pogačar chose to swap to his road bike, losing further seconds in the changeover that he hoped to make up. Vingegaard stuck with his TT machine, and his advantage swung out to 50 seconds. 

From there, the gap kept moving in favour of the reigning champion. It went over a minute. 1-10. 1-20. Not once did he falter. Vingegaard ultimately crossed the line with Pogačar in sight, bettering the Slovenian's time by 1-38.  

"I even surprised myself," Vingegaard said afterwards, but asked if the Tour de France is over, he smiled and delivered an honest "no". 

On Wednesday, the battle for the yellow jersey will continue over the hors catégorie Col de la Loze. Vingegaard might be winning, but the race is not yet won. 

Tour de france stage 16 - Passy > Combloux ITT (22.4km)

1. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma in 32-36
2. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates, at 1-38
3. Wout van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma, at 2-51
4. Pello Bilbao (Esp) Bahrain Victorious, at 2-55
5. Simon Yates (GBr) Jayco AlUla, at 2-58
6. Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Soudal Quick-Step, at 3-06
7. Adam Yates (GBr) UAE Team Emirates, at 3-12
8. Mattias Skjelmose (Den) Lidl-Trek, at 3-21
9. Mads Pedersen (Den) Lidl-Trek
10. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, both at 3-31

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