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Now that was what I call a summit finish at the Tour de France.

No offence, Puy-de-Dôme, it was a nice idea and all, but the weird, soulless energy and never-ending corkscrew of pain did not do it for me in quite the same way as a classic Tour climb, complete with stunning scenery, switchbacks twistier than a pair of contortionists playing Twister (whilst eating Curly Wurlies), and of course the crowds. Though there were a few incidents that made me make this face: 😬

On the whole though, it was quite the spectacle, on a Bastille Day in which only one French rider made the break (Quentin Pacher) and in which Pacher's teammate David Gaudu ended up becoming the highest placed Frenchman, in 16th. Not a Bastille Day to write home about for the partisan crowd, instead a day to celebrate, once again, for Ineos Grenadiers, who do seem to know how to pull it out of the bag on 14th July, having notched up wins on that most significant of French dates on two previous occasions in recent memory - last year, with Tom Pidcock winning on Alpe d'Huez, and in 2015, with Chris Froome atop Mont Ventoux. The British team love an iconic mountain on Bastille Day, but hey, at least it wasn't a Brit that won this time, so hopefully the French will forgive them.

Read on for myriad kaleidoscopic takes on the day's action, along with a look ahead to tomorrow in which we head into the Alps for the first of two massive days (literally and metaphorically speaking) in the mountains.

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def: prepare your musettes!

Cuisine du Jour

Stage 14 - Annemasse - Morzine les Portes du Soleil (151.8km, Mountain)

It's time, folks - with the Pyrenees a distant memory, and the Massif Central done and dusted, today's one-day jaunt to the Jura leads us into the Alps, where the race will tick off 4 out of the 5 French mountain ranges from their 2023 Tour bingo card (the final range, the Vosges will be tackled when the race travels up the Ballon d'Alsace on stage 20).

It's a stringent test that faces the 166 remaining riders, with the complexities of a series of climbs that increase steadily in difficulty, and to succeed will require a rare breed of rider who can encapsulate a blend of qualities: bravery, endurance, power and determination - and here we discover a dish that also encapsulates a blend of qualities.

Farcement is a traditional Savoyard family recipe, unusual in that it combines sweet and savoury ingredients such as bacon, onions, prunes, raisins, potatoes and cream.

The dish is made in a mould shaped like a small beach bucket, which is lined with the bacon and then filled with the combination ingredients. It's then covered and steamed in a pan of boiling water for 3-4 hours, and when it is tipped out, it has cooked and set like a cake.

It's rare - like the breed of rider who will be victorious on tomorrow's stage - and very specific to the mountainous region of Haute Savoie. It's slow-cooked in hot water, much like the riders will be tomorrow as they sweat their way through the climbs, and is baked in basically a bucket - insert Victor Lafay bucket hat video here:

OK, it's probably not a day for Lafay, but could it be a day for a traditional rider, made in the mountains, just like today's dish?

Lena’s Amuse Bouche

3 facts about the Département de la Haute-Savoie

  1. The Département has historically been one of the poorest in France with fewer agricultural produce than many other regions of France. Alpine cattle farming and dairy production are the produce of choice. Today, tourism plays a large role in the economy. Winter sports are big in Megève and Chamonix.
  2. The Swiss city Geneva plays a much larger role in the economy Haute-Savoie than Lyon (which is the closest large French city). Tourism, manufacturing export and much more is dependent on Geneva.
  3. The Département was part of the kingdom of Sardinia during the 18th century and was annexed by France in 1860. It was also occupied by fascist Italian troops during the Second World War who also occupied the neighbouring Aosta Tal - which is part of Italy today.


def: after the effort, the comfort

Taking a sideways look back at the day's action, to reflect, reconcile and remember

STAGE 13 in 13 WORDS:

Proud partisan people prayed; protagonists poised. Peerless Pole pure perfection; Pogačar piled pressure.

Speedy Stage Takeaway

What did we takeaway from today's stage? Let's go classic top 5 for today's speedy stage recap.

  1. The Tour takes its toll. After David de la Cruz didn't start the stage, following a crash on yesterday's stage, two more riders didn't make it to the end, and their Tours are over for this year. Yesterday's Lanterne Rouge Caleb Ewan has been struggling for a few days and stepped off the race, and Ineos' Ben Turner, suffering from stomach issues, was also unable to finish the day.
  2. A flat stage start leads to a breakaway with very few suitable contenders. It's tough being a climber at the Tour that isn't also a GC rider. To be in with a shot of winning a stage, not only do you have to hope it's not a day which either Pogačar or Vingegaard have pegged as one for them, you also have to escape from the bunch successfully - not easy on a day like today, when the roads are pancake (sorry, crepe) flat for the first 80km. Cue a break filled with sprinters and rouleurs, and just a small handful of wily climbers who were able to tag along for the ride.
  3. UAE Team Emirates will commit to ANYTHING if Pogačar's feeling good. They pulled all day on the front of the bunch gambling on their leader's ability to put time into Vingegaard, ahead of a huge weekend in the mountains. Did it pay off? Yes, 8 seconds worth of pay-off - and some would argue a psychological blow to boot - though with Jonas stating that he believed it was a climb more suited to Pogi anyway, perhaps not much of one.
  4. But a nailed-on GC day doesn't always come to pass, even when Pogačar's involved. EVERYONE knew the plan today. It was a UAE Team Emirates day. It was a Pogačar day. Anyone who didn't know found out pretty darned quickly, as the team telegraphed their intentions by riding on the front and keeping the breakaway on an extremely tight leash, and we all nodded sagely and waited for the expected outcome. And yet... It's proof that you really can never say never, when it comes to Grand Tour racing.
  5. Hindley's looking good for the podium. Plenty of days of racing ahead of course, but Bora Hansgrohe consolidated their position today and all Jai Hindley needs to do to ensure he claims the coveted third spot is remain steady in the Alps and hope that his improved time trialling is enough to keep him ahead of the Yates twins.

I need a drink!

with resident mixologist Stine Momo Agerbæk

Michał Kwiatkowski, today’s stage winner, is not only a monument winner, a former world champion, a devoted domestique and a multi-terrain threat and sassy tour-stage recapper on twitter (see photos for proof), no he is also one of the (if not the) fastest Amstel drinkers in the peloton and Team Ineos’ craft coffee connoisseur and allegedly resident bus-barista!

So I guess you could celebrate today with a well-made espresso (too late for cappuccinos and no geographical excuses this time) or an Amstel…

Or you could shake up an Espresso Martini… it is Friday night after all!
Recipe here.

Espresso Martini (image credit: Wikimedia Commons)

I don’t have a lot of creative opinions on Espresso Martinis other than “good coffee tastes better than instant” and “while Kahlua will get the job done, there’s a lot of other more interesting Coffee Liquors in the world” so I don’t have much wisdom to add to this one.

Or well… I wouldn’t call this wisdom, but I tend to do my own personal ones with gin instead of vodka. I like that better, as it tastes a little less one-dimensional sweet/bitter to me. But I also like espresso&tonic, so make of that what you will.
On the topic of Espresso Tonics, that could be a good non-alcoholic option for today: RECIPE.

Na zdrowie

Espresso tonic (image credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Vive la Lanterne Rouge


Yes, today we welcome to the Vive Lounge yet ANOTHER rider from Lotto-DSTNY, and it should by rights have been Frederik Frison given he was the actual Lanterne Rouge but he's already had a turn, and he rolled over the line alongside his teammate, so

  1. At age 18, Vermeersch was a town councillor for Lochristi in East Flanders
  2. He studied history at Ghent University
  3. He first caught the attention of the cycling world with his surprise 2nd place in the rainy Autumn Paris-Roubaix of 2021.


noun: the refuelling

Features to enhance your Tour experience, and refresh your mind after a long day's cycling viewing.

Stat du Jour

by Sam Mould

Today I found myself thinking about the age of the riders.


Oldest rider to start the stage: Dries Devenyns (39y 11m 22d (40 on stage 20))

Youngest rider to start the stage: Carlos Rodriguez (22y 5m 13d)

Average: Mean: 29.14 / Median: 29 / Mode: 29

I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was a little surprised by how high the averages were. However it’s a different story once you look at the stage winners:

Mean: 26.23 / Median: 27 / Mode: 25

The youth really are on the march.

For today’s stage winner height of the highest categorised climb, the climb in question was obviously Grand Colombier at 1,501m or 852.84 Michal Kwiatkowskis.


Band of Brothers

There are 27 nations represented at this year's Tour, and coincidentally, 21 of them have two or more riders. Each day, we'll take a look at a different nation, evaluate their chances of success and throw in a random fact or two, and add to our 'National Standings' chart to see if numerical advantage translates to more stage wins. Dedicated to Justdiggit, Gino's charity of choice, who have set up a specific project in Gino's memory - please consider donating to them, during the Tour.

This segment is dedicated to the memory of the late Gino Mäder


Hurray! With a new nation entering the national standings, we're back on track. And today it's one of the smaller nations that we're looking at in terms of representation, with just two riders. Poland won Bastille day, on a day when the best-placed French rider was David Gaudu in 16th, with Michal Kwiatkowski winning the battle of the Poles too, despite the best efforts of Rafal Majka for his leader Tadej Pogačar up the slopes of the Grand Colombier.

It's the second stage win of his career for the Ineos rider, who is 33 years old, as is Majka. Both loyal domestiques for the most part now, they've both also had plenty of success in their own right previously, with Kwiatkowski winning several classics in addition to his Tour stages, including Strade Bianche and Amstel Gold Race twice each, along with a Monument: Milan-Sanremo.

Majka is Pogačar's right-hand man in the mountains for a reason: he has 5 Grand Tour stages to his name, 3 at Le Tour and 3 at La Vuelta.

So, while Poland's showing at the race may be modest, at least in terms of numbers, the two Poles are two of the most successful and experienced riders in the entire peloton. So 'Gratulacje' to them, especially Kwiatkowski who was Poles apart on the Grand Colombier today (of course I went there, sorry/not sorry).

Now let's see them standing proud in the - er - standings:


Pardon my French

avec Mathieu Fraisse


BASTILLE DAY! Tour de France on Bastille Day is always a special moment; either you're a Frenchman and you want to fare well on this particular day of your Grand Tour; or you're not, but you still want to enjoy the thousands and thousands of people along the roads cheering for you!

Fireworks for this stage with the Grand Colombier but with an arduous stage like this one, many riders will experience today's French expression 😬

Se battre avec sa monture | sə batʁ‿ avɛk sa mɔ̃tyʁ

Literally, to fight with your mount.

From horse-riding vocabulary. Not literally fighting with the horse though. The bike being the mount.

The intensity of the stage is wearing you down and you're having trouble pushing the pedals.

E.g. : Maxim van Gils a du se battre avec sa monture pour finir 2e devant Pogačar

Maxim van Gils had to fight with their mount to finish in 2nd place in front of Pogačar

Some riders like Pierre Latour or Davide Formolo even made this their trademark. When the road goes up they seem to have a constant fight with their bikes. Formolo's pain face is famous all over the world!

Truth be told, besides Pogačar and Vingegaard, every other rider seems to fight with their mount in the final kilometres of a climb 😬

Hats off to Michal Kwiatkowski for today's win, always looking classy on a bike. Is he now the ultimate bike tamer? He definitely was one with his mount on today's stage 🐎

What would you call Michal's mount today? The first one to say Horsey McHorseface is expelled from The Tour Dispatch 😂


YéYé, c'est Le Tour de France 2023

with DJ Momo

A little more specific commentary today… a bit at least!

43: It’s the 14th of July. Bastille Day. Like the historical context for the date, the French national anthem La Marseillaise is also fairly graphic and bloody, which is probably logical given the whole revolution thing and all, but it felt a bit much to include it here.

(My own country’s anthem is, for reference, titled “There is a lovely/adorable/pretty land…” which doesn’t really have the same TO VICTORY feel to it if I’m honest.)

Plus I don’t want to add any additional pressure on the poor homeland heroes of the race, they are already battling an entire peloton, the heat, the mountains and well, probably some fairly high expectations. Seems like a lot. And they could probably do with a little love, because couldn’t we all. So here it is!

44: We’re in the Jura Mountains. And I rarely need THAT level of connection to dive into a full Ted Talk about why I consider the 1993 Jurassic Park soundtrack one of John Williams’ defining masterpieces. The track Welcome to Jurassic Park alone is reason enough.

It’s long (7:54), kinda like today’s climb, and starts soft and slow, like today’s route… unless you are an UAE rouleur on break patrol I guess. Please don’t skip the slow part, because once it hits 4:25 you hit the HC mountain of the composition and… I’m getting goosebumps just writing about it, so let that be enough recommendation.

45: Yes. I know I already added another song from the Franz Ferdinand debut album, and I KNOW that his name isn’t spelled Michael, but today’s winner Michał Kwiatkowski deserved a song and I like this one! And I loved seeing his joy and amazement when he realised he had done it!

46: The music video for this song should seriously be alternating sun-drenched cuts of Jonas in the yellow jersey and Tadej daydreaming, training, preparing his bike and planning how to get him out of it… Ehm, I mean… So he can get into it… I mean… Well. You know what I mean!

Either way; the song fits all interpretations here, and the title seems to currently be the tactical headlines to the UAE approach.

47: I think I used this for the Giro as well, but the band name obviously fits the date today AND if Pogačar gets a strategy/storyline song today, Vingegaard should have one too! In this case a song that despite the dark themes and worries in the lyrics feels remarkably determined and optimistic. So this kinda feels like him in the wake of the three successive successful Pogi-punches.

I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to seeing what the Alps bring!


def: The bits and bobs, the shiny things, the small treasures that would otherwise go unnoticed.

Rider doing something they’re not supposed to be doing of the day

While I really want it to be Victor Lafay in that hat, let's have the lesser spotted Magnus Cort (seriously, where has he been this Tour?) doing something he probably should be doing, but probably not on social media (but he's very funny with his paid promotions so I guess we'll let him off). Yes, it's 'Magnus Cort shaving his legs on Instagram! (Source: Magnus Cort's Instagram).

Tweets of the Day

Tell you what, it's really nice when people can step up and admit they were wrong - just like Michael Woods did after today's stage - probably another candidate for 'riders doing things they weren't supposed to be doing', to be honest.

And on the current GC standings, this excellent observation:

The proof:

Inseparable, those Yates twins (courtesy of FirstCycling)

Question of the Day

What has been your favourite moment of the race so far? And who would you still like to see take a win, before the race is over?

Photo competition

Sponsored by Jen’s Cycling Art

Are you visiting a stage of Le Tour this year? If so, this is your chance not only to show your photography skills to the world, but also to win a prize courtesy of Jen's Cycling Art. Just drop me a message and send across your best shots, and those selected will feature in a gallery of the day's best photography. Spread the word and get those cameras honed and ready!

TODAY IS THE DAY - it's time to take a look at the first entries for the competition - so feast your eyes upon the galleries scattered throughout today's Dispatch, including this one below, from our first five entrants (all credited to the Twitter username). I hope you'll agree there are some absolute crackers so far - please keep them coming!

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