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COPENHAGEN (VN) — Denmark has had its fair share of dark knights when it comes to cycling’s doping wars. Bjarne Riis and Michael Rasmussen are among the nation’s most notorious figures.
“I don’t feel like it’s hindering me,” Vingegaard said Wednesday. “Now cycling has changed, so for me, I don’t feel like it’s something bad.”
The 25-year-old Vingegaard is part of a new generation of Danish stars that is lighting up the peloton.
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Second overall last year at the Tour, Vingegaard is the best Danish GC prospect to come along in a decade.
Now as a protected rider at Jumbo-Visma, he and teammate Primož Roglič are taking on Tadej Pogačar to try to wrestle away the yellow jersey.
The question of Denmark’s doping legacy in cycling came up during a pre-Tour press conference Wednesday.
Vingegaard was born the year Riis won the 1996 Tour as Denmark’s only Tour winner.
Riis, 58, eventually admitted he took EPO and other performance-enhancing products en route to his historic yellow jersey in the 1990s.
Other Danish riders were involved in doping scandals throughout the EPO era.
A decade later, Rasmussen was leading the 2007 Tour while racing with Rabobank — the team later morphed into Jumbo-Visma — but was fired abruptly from the team under a cloud of suspicion just days before reaching Paris.
Like Riis, Rasmussen also admitted to using EPO and a host of other doping products throughout much of his racing career.
Vingegaard said those doping scandals are far removed from his reality today.
“There are always doubts because of what they did, and that’s normal. That’s how it should be,” he said. “If I was spectator I would also have my doubts of what they did in the past.”
The question also comes just as police searched the homes of key riders and staffers from Bahrain Victorious just days ahead of the start of the 2022 Tour.
While there hasn’t been a major doping scandal on the Tour for years, there is plenty to give skeptics caution about performances during cycling’s biggest race.
Vingegaard says he keeps his head down and does his work, regardless of questions about the past or the present.
“There’s nothing in the way of me from doing the best I can,” Vingegaard said. ” I don’t feel like it’s hindering me.”