Vingegaard & Pogacar Favourites Again As Tour De France Prepares For Grand Depart

The top two last year should be the pair to beat again in 2023
07:00, 29 Jun 2023

Check out any of the pivotal highlights of the 2022 Tour de France and there they will both be, side-by-side, wheel-to-wheel, the occasional glance to check the three-week-long shadow is still there. Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogacar dominated the field last year, and they’re the two to watch again as Le Tour gets ready to begin with the Grand Depart in Bilbao on Saturday.

Pogacar was untouchable to start the 2023 season, the two-time Tour de France winner earning the major honours at Paris-Nice as well as at the Tour of Flanders, and at the Classics of La Fleche Wallonne and the Amstel Gold Race. But his hopes of adding a second Liege-Bastogne-Liege crown were foiled when he broke his wrist in an early crash, leaving the way clear for world champ Remco Evenepoel to cross the line first.

While Pogacar has been working hard to prepare for Le Tour with an intense training regime in the Sierra Nevada, his conqueror in 2022 has shown that he’s in perfect shape to defend his title around l’Hexagone. Vingegaard was a clear winner of the Criterium de Dauphine in June after stunning displays of dominance on climbing stages in Salins-Les-Bains and up the Col de la Croix de Fer.


Vingegaard also has the bonus of a team geared up entirely to support him. Team Jumbo-Visma’s decision to send Primoz Roglic to the Vuelta a Espana rather than Le Tour after his magnificent victory in the Giro d’Italia helps to underline the Dane’s position as the clear leader of a group of riders who between them could pocket a number of jerseys once more. Twelve months ago they added Wout van Aert’s green jersey for the points prize to Vingegaard’s yellow and polka-dot mountains prizes.

For UAE Team Emirates’ part, they will hope for more luck than came their way in the 2022 contest. Pogacar was left with just three team-mates by the time of the critical late stages due to a mix of Covid withdrawals and other ailments, which left him exposed to attacks from Jumbo-Visma that helped to get Vingegaard vital extra seconds throughout the final week of the race.


Geraint Thomas, who finished third in ’22 will match Roglic in following up his crucial defeat to the Slovenian on the individual time-trial at the Giro with a trip to Spain for La Vuelta rather than taking on France again, while another British former yellow jersey winner, Chris Froome, will also miss out after being overlooked by his Israel-Premier Tech team.

Most of the focus for British fans will be on Mark Cavendish’s quest for one more stage win to go out on his own as the most successful stage winner in Tour de France history. The Manxman currently shares the crown with the great Eddy Merckx on 34 victories, but after being left out by Qucik Step Alpha-Vinyl last year, Cav is back in 2023 with Team Astana Qazaqstan.

And he has been boosted by Astana’s addition of his former Columbia HTC team-mate and lead-out man Mark Renshaw as a sprint consultant for this year’s Tour. With Cav having already announced that he will retire from pro cycling at the end of this season, the stage is set for him to make sprinting history.

This 110th edition of the greatest race in the world will also allow cycling to pay further tribute to Gino Mader, the Swiss climbing star whose crash on the fifth stage of the Tour de Suisse in June resulted in his death the following day.

2023 Tour de France: Stage guide

July 1, Stage 1: Bilbao to Bilbao (182km) Intermediate

July 2, Stage 2: Vitoria-Gasteiz to Saint Sebastien (208.9km) Intermediate

July 3, Stage 3: Amorebieta-Etxano to Bayonne (187.4km) Flat

July 4, Stage 4: Dax to Nogaro (181.8km) Flat

July 5, Stage 5: Pau to Laruns (162.7km) Mountain

July 6, Stage 6: Tarbes to Cauterets-Cambasque (144.9km) Mountain

July 7, Stage 7: Mont-de-Marsan to Bordeaux (169.9km) Flat

July 8, Stage 8: Libourne to Limoges (200.7km) Intermediate

July 9, Stage 9: Saint-Leonard-de-Noblat to Puy de Dome (182.4km) Mountain

July 10, Rest Day

July 11, Stage 10: Vulcania to Issoire (167.2km) Intermediate

July 12, Stage 11: Clermont-Ferrand to Moulins (179.8km) Flat

July 13, Stage 12: Roanne to Belleville-en-Beaujolais (168.8km) Intermediate

July 14, Stage 13: Chatillon-sur-Chalaronne to Grand Colombier (137.8km) Mountain

July 15, Stage 14: Annemasse to Morzine Les Portes du Soleil (151.8km) Mountain

July 16, Stage 15: Les Gets les Portes du Soleil to Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc (179km) Mountain

July 17, Rest Day

July 18, Stage 16: Passy to Combloux (22.4km) Time Trial

July 19, Stage 17: Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc to Courchevel (165.7km) Mountain

July 20, Stage 18: Moutiers to Bourg-en-Bresse (184.9km) Intermediate

July 21, Stage 19: Moirans-en-Montagne to Poligny (172.8km) Flat

July 22, Stage 20: Belfort to Le Markstein Fellering (133.5km) Mountain

July 23, Stage 21: Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines to Paris (115.1km) Flat

*18+ | BeGambleAware

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