July 8, 2023
Libourne to Limoges – 201 km
Mads Pedersen (Lidl-Trek) took the finish on today’s flat stage, besting Jasper Philipsen (2nd) and Wout Van Aert (3rd) to the line. This is his second win in the Tour de France after Saint-Etienne last year, and he his fourth win this season, including at the Giro d’Italia, and three stage wins at the 2022 Vuelta d’Espana. The Pedersen win breaks the 3-sprint stage winning streak by Jasper Philipsen.
Sprinter Mark Cavendish was noticeably absent: he crashed more than 48 km into the stage, and was taken to the hospital with a possible broken right collarbone. The 38-year-old still holds the most recent best record for stages won at the Tour de France. Since his first participation in 2007, Cavendish completed 206 Tour stages, won 34 of those (16.5%) and finished in the top-3 43 times (20.9%). He took his first stage win in Châteauroux (stage 5 of the Tour 2008) and the last one in Carcassonne (stage 13 of the Tour 2021).
Vingegaard remains in the Yellow Jersey, with Pogacar and Hindley still in second and third position overall. Simon Yates also crashed a few kilometers from the finish in Limoges, and is “badly hurt” according to Le Tour officials.
The skirmishes began in the first 20km but they were unsuccessful until Tim Declercq (Soudal-Quick Step) managed to go clear. He was joined at km 22 by Anthony Turgis (TotalEnergies) and Anthony Delaplace (Arkea-Samsic). A maximum time difference of 5’15’’ was record before the intermediate sprint at Tocane-Saint-Apre (km 79).
Delaplace out-sprinted Turgis, and Philipsen was the fastest as he fulfilled his green jersey ambitions by winning the sprint of the peloton for fourth place. His teammate Mathieu van der Poel tried to surprise the field as he attacked right after the intermediate sprint. Philipsen, Mark Cavendish, Bryan Coquard and Biniam Girmay were among the fifteen riders who accompanied him. It forced Jumbo-Visma to chase hard as Wout van Aert had made no secret on his stage win ambitions in Limoges. It was back together after a couple of kilometers.
Lidl-Trek started to make the race harder at the head of the peloton with one and half hour remaining, but Cavendish crashed out with 64 km to go. Cofidis came in help to pace the peloton that was timed 2’30’’ adrift before the last hour of racing. Kasper Asgreen (Soudal-Quick Step) attacked from the pack with 36km remaining. He stayed in between for 14 kilometers. The deficit of the peloton was one minute at the 20-km to go mark. Turgis rode away solo in the côte de Masmont 16km before the end.
Skjelmose Puts Pedersen out Front
Declercq tried to make it back to the front but was swallowed by the pack 10 km before the end. Turgis was reeled with 8 km remaining. His teammate Steff Cras crashed with 6 km to go while Simon Yates and Mikel Landa also went down and reached the finish line with a 47’’ deficit. The Belgian, 13th overall, was forced to pull out. Mattias Skjelmose strongly seized the command of the peloton at the entrance of Limoges.
The Danish champion launched his teammate and compatriot Mads Pedersen but the competition was fierce in the uphill stretch. The former world champion looked to have it when he passed Van Aert who was led out by Christophe Laporte but Van der Poel took Philipsen to the front and Pedersen had to jump to the finish line to fend off the green jersey holder.
This is the 26th Danish stage win at the Tour de France, the second for Pedersen himself who already bagged a Giro d’Italia stage victory in Naples this year.