Michael Woods triumphs on Puy de Dôme as Tadej Pogačar narrows gap to Tour de France lead

Canadian comes out on top in battle with American Matteo Jorgenson as Jonas Vingegaard shows weakness

Michael Woods wins atop Puy de Dôme on stage 9 of the Tour de France 2023
(Image credit: David Ramos / Getty)

In a north American showdown it was Canada that came out on top as Michael Woods beat American rival Matteo Jorgenson to the win atop the legendary Puy de Dôme.

Jorgenson had gone solo form a breakaway with 40km left to race. The Movistar rider who, at the start of the day,  held the Strava KOM for the final climb put in a very impressive performance to build a gap of nearly two minutes over the group containing Woods.

However, on the slopes of the Puy de Dôme where the gradient remains over 105 for more than four kilometres, Woods closed the gap and came around Jorgenson with just 600m left to go.

Behind the race for the stage win the GC riders dueled it out and came across the line in ones and twos.

In the final kilometre, of what had been a blisteringly hot day with temperatures north of 30 degree Celsius, Tadej Pogačar managed to drop Jonas Vingegaard but the Jumbo-Visma captain dug deep to minimise his losses and came across the line eight seconds down.

The defending champion now enters the race’s first rest day with a lead of just 17 seconds.

Tadej Pogacar after stage 9 of the Tour de France

(Image credit: VINCENT KALUT / Getty)

Asked about his stage win Woods said: “I’m still having a pinch myself moment… I’m 36 years old, I’m not getting any younger and I’ve always talked about winning a stage of the Tour de France. I’ve finally achieved it.”

He added that his hope had been to be with Jorgenson at the very front of the race but that he was heavily marked and “ended up not playing my cards super-right”.

He added: “When I got to 4km to go I didn’t really think of the win I was just doing a time trial to the top and then whatever did I could be proud of myself. And my hardest was enough to bring back Jorgenson.”

How it happened

The break of 14 riders was established early in the day with the peloton clearly happy to let the escapees contest the stage their gap grew to over ten minutes.

The situation remained stable until 50km to go when attacks started to come thick and fast fr the break. Matteo Jorgenson went solo with 40km to go.

A further chase of four riders including David de la Cruz (Astana Qazaqstan), Matej Mohorič (Bahrain Victorious), Neilson Powless and Mathieu Burgaudeau(TotalEnergies) nearly made it across but as the leader hit the beginning of the final climb he had around a minute on the chasing trio and two minutes on the rest of the break.

As the race hit the steepest final 4km of the climb the chase splintered and Woods came out of the remains of the break reeling in first Mohorič and then Jorgenson to solo to the line.

Further back down the road the peloton was whittled down by Jumbo-Visma’s relentless pace setting. When Tadej Pogačar attacked Jonas Vingegaard could go with him but eventually a gap opened and the Slovenian claimed a healthy eight seconds at the line.

Perhaps most importantly he has now struck two psychological blows on the race’s two uphill finishes. And there’s still two weeks of racing left.

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