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2023 Tour de France Stage 7-9 Highlights

By Jeff Stinger

The Tour de France returned to the legendary Puy de Dome climb after a 35-year absence from the schedule. We’ve seen the last three stages deliver tense duels between sprinters and breakaway riders for the stage win and the General Classification contenders. Let’s go over stages seven, eight, and nine’s highlights below.

Top Stage 7-9 Highlights of the 2023 Tour de France

Stage 7

This stage had cycling fans on the edge of their seats at the finish. Despite a relatively flat, long, and boring stage, all the action rushed in the final three kilometers. What makes it more exciting? A seasoned veteran and +10,000 winner Mark Cavendish of Astana Qazaqstan nearly won the stage and broke the Tour de France stage wins record, only for Jasper Philipsen of Alpecin-Deceuninck to take it all away from him with 500 meters to go.

Philipsen looked unstoppable at this point and was again positioned perfectly for the win thanks to his lead-out ace Mathieu van der Poel, in what he cited as the team’s “dream Tour” during post-race interviews. Cavendish, however, made a statement after the stage. We know that he was capable of taking a stage win this year, with a second-place finish being his best one in the 2023 edition.

Ultimately, the Alpecin train put together another great performance in winning Tour de France stages, with Dutch cyclist and +10,000 winner Mathieu van der Poel delivering Jasper Philipsen to another stage victory. In hindsight, Mark Cavendish and his second-place win was a warning shot. The “Manx Missile” almost made it to the line first before a last-ditch effort by Philipsen took over. The fact that the 38-year-old came closer and closer to number one with every sprint stage made us believe he has the legs to win number 35 this year.

Stage 8

Another stage for the sprinters means heart-stopping action at the end of the route. Mads Pedersen of Lidl-Trek secured an eighth-stage sprint dogfight after holding off three-time 2023 TdF stage winner Jasper Philipsen. The run-in to the line saw a handful of aggressive climbs, but the top sprinters were all present with Pedersen taking it all in the end. This is his second career stage win in the prestigious race. It was the stage that fit his strengths. The technical finish played to his advantage.

Lidl-Trek perfectly positioned him to the finish. Alpecin-Deceuninck had another strong lead-out train and placed Stage 7 winner Philipsen in a good position to claim a fourth stage win. However, Pedersen had the better seat from the start of the sprint and held off his Belgian rival in what looked like an extended stretch to the line.

Stage 8 also witnessed the withdrawal of all-time great sprinter Mark Cavendish. The Isle of Man-born rider suffered a collarbone injury and was forced to abandon the 2023 Tour de France, which ends his chance of breaking the all-time TdF stage wins record this year. It’s a tough pill to swallow as he pushes 40 years old, with the crash coming a day after he nearly broke the record if not for a mechanical issue in the closing seconds. Although he announced his retirement at the end of this season, maybe there’s a chance we see him suit up next year after the unfortunate accident.

Stage 9

Israel-PremierTech’s Mike Woods captured Stage 9 at the top of the Hors Categorie (Beyond Category) Puy de Dome. It’s one of the most popular climbs in the Tour de France’s history. The veteran cyclist from Canada found good pace at the base of the climb, catching four other riders to claim his first TdFf stage victory.

France’s Mathieu Burgaudeau finished behind +10,000 winner Mike Woods while Slovenia’s Matej Mohoric finished third. After a heated day of racing from the breakaway, another +10,000 winner Neilson Powless held on to finish sixth on the day, stretching his lead in the Tour’s King of the Mountains polka dot jersey into the first rest day before the Tour’s second week.

,p>The biggest winner of the day is a two-time winner and a +115 2023 Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar of UAE Team Emirates. He found eight more seconds and now sits 17 seconds behind the Yellow Jersey. Tour GC leader Jonas Vingegaard lost more time in Stage 9 and is now under pressure. The Slovenian clearly has the mental edge after regaining the time he conceded.

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