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From the Grand Exit in Copenhagen to the denouement in Paris, a shocked nation has been clinging to the tails of Jonas Vingegaard’s jacket. On Sunday, the Champs-Élysées turned decidedly Danish, with a splash of brash Slovenian and a contact of deadpan Welshman.
Vingegaard arrived in Paris transported by his nearly infallible Jumbo-Visma workforce to win the Tour de France at his second try, from defending champion Tadej Pogacar and the peloton’s Mister Consistency, Geraint Thomas, who scored his third podium end in 4 years.
Twelve months in the past, Pogacar, the Slovenian prodigy who managed the big-budget United Arab Emirates workforce, was anticipated to win the yellow jerseys in collection. Now, nonetheless, the panorama has modified and it’s the unflappable Dane and his big-budget workforce that appear invincible.
As Belgian Jasper Philipsen raced to his second stage win within the frantic last race to the end, Vingegaard and his team-mates unfold out throughout the cobbles and joined in to bask of their success. With six stage wins and the yellow and inexperienced jerseys, some dazzling climbing speeds and collective dominance, it has been a exceptional efficiency.
Inevitably, at his conventional winners’ press convention, the brand new champion was requested if such full command of the peloton might be relied upon, given the context of the game. “We’re completely clear, each single one in all us,” Vingegaard mentioned.
“I can say that to every of you. None of us are taking something unlawful. I feel why we’re so good is the preparation we do.
“We take the excessive altitude camps to the subsequent step. We do all the pieces with materials, meals and coaching. The workforce is the most effective on this. That is why you must belief.”
His teammate Wout van Aert, winner of Saturday’s last time trial at Rocamadour, was much less receptive. “That is a bullshit query,” he mentioned. “As a result of we’re acting at this degree, we have now to defend ourselves. I do not perceive
“Biking has modified. I do not like that we hold having to reply this. Now we have to go controls at each second of the 12 months, not solely within the Tour de France, but additionally in our properties. When you take a look at our workforce, how we have now developed over these years, it has not come from nowhere.
The primary casualty of their collective power was defending champion Pogacar, dominant and explosive in 2020 and 2021, who this 12 months appeared, at instances, a blunt instrument in comparison with Vingegaard’s efficiency within the Tour’s summit finishes.
The Slovenian chief of the UAE Emirates workforce, who began successful main races as early as February and after successful two levels and his native nationwide tour in June, appeared positive he was the rider to beat, displaying flashes of immaturity that got here again to hang-out him. .
The important thing second got here on stage 11 to the Col du Granon, a high-altitude crawl of a few of the greatest alpine passes, during which an remoted Pogacar miscalculated his ways, mugged the TV cameras, however then paid for it. moments later when he was unable to reply to Vingegaard’s acceleration. After that, he was continuously on the defensive.
From there, Vingegaard was in management and was even in a position to survive the lack of two teammates, Primoz Roglic and Steven Kruiswijk, and settle for the touring position of Van Aert, displaying no indicators of faze. Pogacar suffered the lack of key helpers, George Bennett and Rafal Majka, however it’s debatable whether or not any of these completed climbers would have modified the destiny of the yellow jersey.
Thomas, in what some consider to be the most effective efficiency of his profession, endured all of the sound and fury between the 2 essential contenders, to ship a basic efficiency of character and resilience. By way of successful the race, he was by no means in rivalry, however his expertise, coupled along with his skill to maintain his head when everybody else typically misplaced theirs, rewarded him with third place, though extra eight minutes from the winner.
Thomas was not sure if this is able to be his final Tour de France. “I do not know,” he responded when requested. “I’ve a contract till the top of subsequent 12 months. I may cease, I may do yet one more. I nonetheless benefit from the races, I nonetheless get pleasure from this race, the most important race on the earth. By no means say By no means. We’ll see.”
He additionally reiterated that he had all the time believed in himself. “The top of final 12 months was very robust mentally for varied causes. After I began it again up it was steady, which is regular. He was positive if he saved working onerous he might be within the combine. I by no means put a quantity on it. I all the time thought it might be there or round. As for the workforce, it is extra of a difficulty for them. I am pleased to be within the combine.”
As for the Tour itself, it sits uncomfortably in up to date French tradition. Praised by President Macron for his continued significance to France’s sense of heritagehowever more and more globalized, it appeared painfully misplaced at instances this July.
When teenage local weather protesters have been brutally manhandled by senior race officers after blocking the trail of stage 10, in full view of Haute Savoie’s disappearing glaciers, the disconnect between the inexperienced machine and the company large was laid naked.
There is no such thing as a doubt that, as its reputation grows world wide with youthful and extra numerous audiences, the Tour might want to do extra.
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