Preparations for the big party are in full swing in Copenhagen, where the Tour de France also started this year. After all, Jonas Vingegaard is likely to be the first Dane to win the Tour of France since Bjarne Riis in 1996.
Vingegaard, who grabbed the yellow jersey from last year’s winner Tadej Pogacar on the Col du Granon, didn’t give it up anymore and, to top it off, also won the mountain finish in Hautacam, caused a storm of enthusiasm in his home country. However, the doubts drive along with such performances.
The designated tour winner has largely rejected any doping speculation for himself and his team Jumbo-Visma. “We are all absolutely clean. I can say that for each of us. I’ll tell you that directly and without hesitation,” assured Vingegaard on Saturday after the individual time trial when asked about the dominance of the Dutch cycling team in the Tour of France.
The Dane, who worked in a fish factory just a few years ago, explained his team’s success with the professional preparation. “We do training camps at altitude, we eat well, we do everything in the best possible way. That’s why we won,” emphasized the 25-year-old. With Vingegaard (yellow and dots) and Belgian Wout Van Aert (green) the three most important jerseys go to Jumbo-Visma this year. In the previous 20 stages, the winner came six times from the dominant racing team.
His teammate Wout Van Aert, who won the individual time trial on Saturday, reacted more drastically: “That’s a shitty question. I don’t feel like answering that,” whispered the Belgian sprinter, adding: “Every time someone wins, it comes up. Do we have to defend ourselves because we are so strong? I don’t get it – we work so hard for it!”
Van Aert pointed out what he believes to be the positive development of the sport in recent years. “Cycling has changed, we are controlled all the time, all year round. We’re just training. And if you look at how the team has developed over the past few years, you realize that we didn’t come out of nowhere.”
On Sunday morning, the peloton already started in Paris for the Tour d’Honneur, the final stage on which the yellow jersey is traditionally no longer 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. Favorite to win after 115.6 kilometers is Van Aert, who won there last year.