[Michał Kwiatkowski grabs victory on the Grand Colombier on stage 13 of the Tour de France
Michał Kwiatkowski (Ineos Grenadiers) climbed to an impressive solo victory on the Grand Colombier on stage 13 of the Tour de France.
The Polish rider dispatched the remnants of the day’s breakaway on the steeper gradients of the day’s final climb. James Shaw (EF Education-EasyPost), Harold Tejada (Astana Qazaqstan) and Max Van Gils (Lotto-Dstny) had no answer to Kwiatkowski’s acceleration as he caught and passed them on a hairpin bend.
Meanwhile Tadej Pogačar took back eight seconds in the battle for overall victory. The Slovenian now trails Jonas Vingegaard in the overall standings by just nine seconds.
Pogačar left it very late, but eventually launched a savage attack in the final kilometre which comfortably distanced Vingegaard and moved him even closer to the yellow jersey.
Despite Pogačar and UAE’s attempts to close him down, Kwiatkowski held out for a second-ever Tour stage win. Lotto-Dstny’s Max Van Gils was the only other rider who was able to hold off the rampaging Slovenian as he took second on the day, 47 seconds behind Kwiatkowski.
Pogačar took third, a further three seconds back.
How it happened
Stage 13 was 137 kilometres in length from Châtillon-sur-Chalaronne to the summit finish on the Grand Colombier.
Similarly to the previous stage, it took a considerable amount of time for a breakaway to establish itself due to the fast and frenetic racing.
Eventually a 20 rider group got away.
It included Michał Kwiatkowski (Ineos Grenadiers), Quentin Pacher (Groupama-FDJ), Alberto Bettiol and James Shaw (EF Education-EasyPost), Matej Mohorič and Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious), Jasper Stuyven (Lidl-Trek), Adrien Petit, Georg Zimmerman and Mike Teunissen (Intermarché–Circus–Wanty).
Nelson Oliveira (Movistar), Hugo Houle (Israel-Premier Tech), Luca Mozzatto (Arkea-Samsic), Pascal Eenkhorn and Max Van Gils (Lotto-Dstny), Cees Bol and Harold Tejada (Astana Qazaqstan), Anthony Charmig (Uno-X) and Pierre Latour (TotalEnergies) were also all part of the lead group.
The powerful breakaway saw its advantage rocket up to well over a minute as it powered across the relatively flat terrain to the first uncategorised climb of the day.
With 54 kilometres to go, the breakaway’s advantage was at 1-56 as the riders looked to contest the intermediate sprint at Hauteville-Lompnes. Teunissen took maximum points as Mohorič powered over the top of him and attempted to split the group into two.
UAE Emirates were driving the pace at the front of the peloton in a bid to control things for Tadej Pogačar. However, the breakaway led by Mohorič, Bettiol and Shaw pressed on and increased its advantage to over three minutes.
Shaw and Bettiol led the charge off the uncategorised climb and into the valley road which led to the base of the Grand Colombier. With 30 kilometres left to race UAE put Marc Soler to work in a bid to reduce the deficit to the leaders.
At the 14 kilometre to go mark Pacher had pushed on from the breakaway in a bid to grab France a home win on Bastille day. Shaw, Tejada and Van Gils were the only riders able to give chase. The trio soon swept up Pacher who was jettisoned straight out of the back of the group due to the high tempo.
Suddenly Kwiatkowski appeared from nowhere and rocketed past the trio of leaders and now led the race. The Polish rider soon put more than 30 seconds into the chasing group who had been joined once again by Mohorič.
Meanwhile back down the road UAE were still leading the charge, but appeared to have given up on a stage win for Pogačar. Sensing hesitation amongst his compatriots, Shaw attacked out of the chasing group and went in search of Kwiatkowski, the lone leader.
However, Kwiatkowski would still get his moment and took a resounding win for Ineos Grenadiers.
Behind him Pogačar left it until the final kilometre to make his move. The Slovenian launched a stinging attack as he sprinted for the line which comfortably distanced Vingegaard. Ahead of a difficult weekend in the Alps, Pogačar took back eight seconds on his main rival and moved even closer to the overall race lead and yellow jersey.
The Slovenian finished third on the day behind Kwiatkowski and Max Van Gils who took second place.
Tour de France, stage 13: Châtillon-sur-Chalaronne > Grand Colombier 137km