Tour de France 2023 - Stage 19 Recap

Tour de France 2023 - Stage 19 Recap

Photo by Tour de France

The 2023 Tour de France has been filled with thrilling moments and unexpected turn of events, and stage 19 was no exception. In an astounding photo-finish sprint, Matej Mohoric of Bahrain Victorious emerged as the winner ahead of Kasper Asgreen from Soudal-Quickstep. The three-man breakaway, including Ben O'Connor from AG2R-Citroen, fought fiercely to the finish line in Poligny. Let's look at the exciting events that unfolded during this stage.


The Stage Setup

The 172.8km stage from Moirans-en-Montagne to Poligny was expected to be a relatively flat transition stage. However, the riders had other plans in mind. The sprint teams were determined to avoid another upset, with tensions running high after the breakaway's victory in the previous stage. Kasper Asgreen, who won stage 18, aiming for a second consecutive victory.



A Day of Aggression 

The stage quickly turned into a display of aggression, with attacks coming quickly right from the start. Victor Campenaerts from Lotto-Dstny, the combativity award winner of stage 18, was among the first riders to launch an attack. However, the peloton was unwilling to let any breakaway stay out for long.



The Breakaway Takes Shape

Despite the peloton's efforts to bring back the attacks, a 9-man breakaway eventually formed at the 116km mark. The breakaway group consisted of Nils Politt (Bora-Hansgrohe), Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious), Tiesj Benoot (Jumbo-Visma), Victor Campenaerts (Lotto-Dstny), Georg Zimmermann (Intermarche-Circus-Wanty), Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates), Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal-QuickStep), Warren Barguil (Arkea-Samsic), and Mads Pedersen (Lidl-Trek).



Attacks and Regrouping

The breakaway's advantage over the peloton never grew beyond a minute, and the main field was determined to keep them in check. With 32km to go, Kasper Asgreen, Ben O'Connor, and Matej Mohoric launched a fierce attack that eventually absorbed the struggling breakaway group. Behind them, a chase group led by Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) was desperately trying to close the gap.



The Final Showdown 

As the race entered its final kilometres, it became clear that the stage victory would be decided between the three riders in the breakaway and the pursuing group led by Jasper Philipsen. The tension was palpable as the riders jockeyed for position, knowing that every move counted.



The Photo-Finish Sprint

In a stunning display of strength and determination, Matej Mohoric, Kasper Asgreen, and Ben O'Connor held off the chasing group and arrived at the finish line in Poligny. It was a nail-biting photo-finish sprint, with Matej Mohoric ultimately crossing the line first, denying Kasper Asgreen a second consecutive stage win.



Emotional Victory

Matej Mohoric's victory was not only a testament to his physical prowess but also an emotional moment for him and the Bahrain Victorious team. In a post-race interview, Mohoric expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to compete at such a high level. He dedicated the win to his teammate Gino Mader, who tragically passed away earlier this year in a race.



Aggressive Racing and High Speeds

Stage 19 will be remembered for its aggressive racing and high speeds. With an average speed of 49.1km/h, it was one of the fastest stages in Tour de France history. The riders pushed themselves to the limit, enduring the physical and mental challenges of the race.



The Unyielding Peloton

While the breakaway riders fought for victory, the main peloton was more than 10 minutes behind. The relentless chase groups, crashes, and attacks had taken their toll on the riders, but they remained committed to finishing the stage and preparing for the challenges ahead.



A Stage of Sacrifice and Determination

Stage 19 was a stage of sacrifice and determination. Riders like Ben O'Connor, who unexpectedly found himself in the breakaway, pushed themselves to their limits and accepted the reality of competing against two of the strongest rouleurs in the peloton. The race demanded everything from the riders, both physically and mentally.

In conclusion, stage 19 of the 2023 Tour de France was a thrilling and emotional day of racing. Matej Mohoric's victory in the photo-finish sprint showcased the intensity and determination of the breakaway riders. The riders will face even more challenges as the race continues, but they will undoubtedly carry the memories and lessons of stage 19 with them.


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