The best attacks of the 2023 racing season

Lotte Kopecky, Tadej Pogačar and Victor Lafay all feature as we look back at the most devastating attacks of the 2023 road season

Clock17:30, Saturday 30th December 2023

As the New Year approaches, thoughts naturally turn to the coming season and what may lie in wait for the 2024 road campaign. But it would be remiss of us to brush over what has been another sensational year of action, peppered with lung-busting attacks, daredevil descending and eye-watering cracks.

Along the way, the likes of Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx) and Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) have demonstrated their abilities as the best riders in the world, whilst others have popped up with the occasional moment of genius to put the cats amongst the pigeons.

In many ways, to attempt to whittle down the most decisive attacks of the season would be a fool's business, but once more unto the breach we have gone, to settle on the 10 best attacks of the 2023 pro cycling season.

There have been race-winning, mind-blowing and race-defining attacks throughout the course of 2023, and Vingegaard's move on stage 5 of the Tour de France certainly falls into the latter camp, having put the rest of the peloton on notice.

The Dane headed into the Tour as the reigning champion and many had expected a close-run battle between him and Pogačar for the yellow jersey, but Vingegaard's initial move on stage 5 had many fans fearing that the race was already run - such was the ferocity of his attack.

However, the Slovenian would respond in fine fashion on stage 6 with his own stage-winning attack - this former Tour de France champion would not go down without a fight. It was not to be in the end for Pogačar, but this move is not the only one of his attacks attack in our top 10 list.

Of course, the list of 2023's best attacks would never be complete without the 25-year-old's devastating move at the Tour of Flanders, which saw Pogačar put to bed any doubts over whether he could win a cobbled Monument. Even the greatest one-day racer of his generation, Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) could not deal with the attack, as Pogačar rode alone to his first victory in 'De Ronde'.

Van der Poel's disappointment would be tempered by a remarkable season, which saw the Dutchman find his place on our list with his race-winning attack at Milan-San Remo. It is in the Monuments that logic often has to go out of the window, replaced instead by bravery and panache as the world's best go up against one another.

Nowhere was this more evident than in Remco Evenepoel's (Soudal Quick-Step) attack at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, which saw the world champion stamp on his pedals with over 33km left to ride. The Belgian was initially followed by Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers), but his strength was soon enough to deliver him to a second victory at 'La Doyenne'.

With no tomorrow to worry about, one-day races are often the site of cycling's most fearsome moves, as riders found out at the Amstel Gold Race when Demi Vollering (SD Worx) left them in her wake inside the closing kilometres.

The SD Worx superstar is joined in our list by teammates Kopecky and Mischa Bredewold, the former for her move to win stage 1 of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift, and the latter for her cunning attack to win the European Championships road race.

As Kopecky was keenly aware, winning the opening stage of the Tour also brings the added bonus of wearing the yellow jersey as race leader. Her counterpart from the men's Tour, Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates), was unlucky not to make our list, but the winner of stage 2 of the men's race - Victor Lafay (Cofidis) - won with enough extravagance to earn his spot.

Naturally, no end-of-year list is complete without one comedic entry, though you'll have to tune in to discover that entry in the number eight slot. As for where the rest of this year's best attacks have been ranked, you can check out the full video above from the GCN Racing YouTube channel.

If you disagree with our list of top 10 best attacks of the 2023 pro cycling season, or think we may have missed one or two, be sure to let us know in the comments below!

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