Tour de France: Jonas Vingegaard, the discreet champion who threatens the hegemony of Tadej Pogacar



No, he hasn’t changed. Boy of habits in Hillerslev, the small city of 15,000 inhabitants in the northwest of Denmark where he grew up and where he still lives, with his wife Trine and his daughter Frida. Quiet father at 25, who does not like to put himself forward. Except that Jonas Vingegaard is cycling champion, at the start of the Tour de France 2022 in Copenhagen, a year after his surprise second place on the Grande Boucle.

So, even if he says to himself ” always the same “, he was well aware that he was no longer quite in the eyes of others at the time of the presentation of his Jumbo-Visma team this Wednesday, June 29 in the Scandinavian capital. As soon as his name is pronounced by the announcer, the crowd applauds him wildly and chants “Vingegaard, Vingegaard! ».

The young man, all upset, takes off his anti-Covid mask to greet his supporters and sheds a small tear. Of the ten Danish riders present during this 109e edition of the Tour, it is now the most awaited. At the top if possible.

The advantages of the Jumbo-Visma

In the favorites, Jonas Vingegaard? Without a doubt. The most capable in any case, with his teammate Primoz Roglic, of threatening the superb of a Tadej Pogacar that everyone already imagines in yellow in Paris. The two friends of the Dutch formation Jumbo-Visma promise in any case to make common cause to bring down the ogre who intends to devour a third consecutive Tour.

Last year, Primoz Roglic was alone in charge of the team before several falls forced him to retire. Jonas Vingegaard had taken up the torch, successfully. This year, the Jumbo becomes a two-headed hydra. “We are stronger together”, swears Jonas Vingegaard. His teammate brushes aside questions about ego management: “I don’t care who wins. It’s a team sport. We try to do our best with what we have. »

And the Jumbo-Visma have a lot, with also the Belgian Wout Van Aert chasing the green jersey in the points classification. The team impresses. It remains to be seen if she does not run the risk of running too many hares at once.

Dispersion is not what UAE Emirates, the collective in the service of Tadej Pogacar, fears. Rather considered a lonely man during his first two successes in 2020 and 2021, the 23-year-old Slovenian now has a largely reinforced team. Who will be responsible for protecting it throughout a tricky first week, before putting the artist into orbit.

Last year, Tadej Pogacar had almost closed the debates from the first alpine stage at Grand-Bornand. Repeat again this time from the nasty Col du Granon on the 11e stage ? Dubbed the legitimate heir by Eddy Merckx, the Slovenian does look like a cannibal.

Crumbs for the other suitors

The other contenders seem reduced to picking up only the crumbs. The French in particular, who in any case have decided to limit their ambitions. Stages, why not, but the general classification, very little for me. This is the disinhibiting speech of a Thibaut Pinot who returns to the Tour as a simple teammate of the leader of his Groupama-FDJ formation, the climber David Gaudu. Romain Bardet also appears ” released “for a Tour that was not originally on his program.

To jostle for the podium, it is rather necessary to look on the side of Ineos Grenadiers. The British team has been missing out in recent years, but it has a good arsenal: Geraint Thomas, 36, former winner of the Tour (in 2018), is animated by a new breath after his recent success in the Tour de Suisse; Adam Yates, he would see himself much higher than his 4th place in 2016. The Russian Aleksandr Vlasov, 26 years old and rather efficient since the start of the season (3e of the Tour of the Basque Country and 1er of the Tour de Romandie), and the Australian Ben O’Connor, 4th last year, complete the picture. But on the edges of the frame, far from the main subject: Tadej Pogacar.

(Archives – Video of 06/07/2019)

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