Jonas Vingegaard kissed his girlfriend Trine in the rock town of Rocamadour and gave his daughter Frida a Danish flag. Only the Tour d’Honneur on the Parisian Champs-Élysées separates the 25-year-old from the first tour triumph of his career.
In the individual time trial on Saturday, second place was enough for the Dane to successfully defend the yellow jersey of the leader in the Tour of France. After 20 stages, Vingegaard is 3:34 ahead of defending champion Tadej Pogacar, who was third in the race against the clock.
Wout van Aert secured the day’s win on the hilly 40.7 kilometer course from Lacapelle-Marival to Rocamadour. The Belgian needed 47:49 minutes, which corresponds to an average speed of 50.9 kilometers per hour. Best German was Maximilian Schachmann after a strong performance in ninth place.
“Today was a dream scenario. I’m super exhausted after three weeks and gave it my all again,” said van Aert, who was in tears. At the foot of the podium he fell into the arms of his teammate and designated Tour winner Vingegaard. “I wanted the stage and the yellow jersey for Jonas.”
Best German was Maximilian Schachmann after a strong performance in ninth place. “I’m very happy with the performance,” said Schachmann. “I didn’t have a good feeling in the morning, so I slept for another hour on the bus. The performance gives me confidence for the coming weeks.”
Among the eight remaining German starters was not a pure time trial specialist. But even after the overall very fast and difficult tour, the pros didn’t rest easy in the fight against the clock. “It was extremely tough. It was flat out every day, even the time trial. You couldn’t just look at the landscape,” said German champion Nils Politt.
Simon Geschke once again wore the jersey of the best climber – representing the leader of the rankings, Vingegaard. The Berlin will also travel to Paris in the white jersey with the red dots and will be welcomed there by family and friends. With nine days as the best mountain classification, Geschke undisputedly provided the tour highlight from a German perspective. “The frustration ran deep, now I’m happy about what I’ve achieved. I put on a good show,” said Geschke.
However, it is no comparison to what will happen in Denmark in the coming days. Like Bjarne Riis in 1996, Vingegaard is likely to get a big reception in Copenhagen. Already at the start of the tour in the Danish capital, 10,000 frenetic fans moved Vingegaard to tears at the team presentation. Now he will return home triumphant if he does not fall so badly on Sunday that he cannot continue the tour.
On Sunday morning, the peloton starts in Paris for the Tour d’Honneur, the final stage on which the yellow jersey is traditionally not attacked. From the La Défense Arena, head west out of the city before heading to the city center via the Cote du Pavé des Gardes and doing the obligatory final laps on the Champs-Élysées. Van Aert, who won there last year, is the favorite to win after 115.6 kilometers.