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Tour de France

Jonas Vingegaard: The longer the climbs the better at the Tour de France

The Danish rider says he's focusing on keeping in touch with Tadej Pogačar as he waits for the big mountains to arrive.

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (VN) — The best is yet to come for Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) at the Tour de France, or so he says.

So far, the Danish rider has been the only rider who can come close to Tadej Pogačar when the road tips upward and he is sitting at 39 seconds behind the Slovenian in the general classification.

After attacking Pogačar on the Planche des Belles Filles, only to be overtaken by him shortly before the line, Vingegaard was glued to his wheel on the uphill finale in Lausanne. However, the big mountains are still to come at this Tour de France and that’s where Vingegaard believes he will come into his own.

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“I think my force is on the long climbs so the longer it is the better it is. It’s always difficult to say because there are a lot of other factors like the weather and everything but normally the longer climbs suit me better,” Vingegaard said.

“I’m trying to focus on Pogačar, I’ll just try to do my best every day, and also a day like today doesn’t suit me well, but I wanted to sit in his wheel in case he wanted to attack from far. He tried for the sprint, and it was up to Wout [van Aert] to try to beat him. Luckily, we got the stage win and we’re super happy about it.”

 

Pogačar has looked dominant so far in this Tour de France with two stage wins already in the bank and a growing lead in the yellow jersey. While Vingegaard has looked strong, he has not been able to expose any cracks in the armor of Pogačar, but he’s got two more weeks to try and find them.

“It’s a very long way to Paris still and I’m in a good spot right now. Of course, we are here to win the yellow jersey so we will try our best in the next two weeks. We will just do everything we can every day we will see what it is,” he said.

Though Vingegaard did not lose any time on the road to Pogačar in the stage 8 finish in Lausanne, he did see four seconds added to his deficit after the UAE Team Emirates rider nabbed a time bonus for finishing second on the line. He was saved by losing any more by Van Aert and Michael Matthews duking it out for the win.

Saturday’s finale was a prime demonstration of Jumbo-Visma trying to balance its dual goals of the overall race win and the points classification.

“I think everything can be combined,” Vingegaard said of the yellow and green jersey targets. “Today, I lost four seconds, but I don’t think that the Tour will be decided by four seconds. I don’t see it as a problem. We will just have to see in the mountains how we are.

“Of course, it’s not good to lose seconds, but today was a calculated risk and we have two goals here, the green jersey and the yellow jersey, and today was a big chance for Wout to gain a lot of points and we knew that there was a risk that Pogačar could take some seconds. He took four seconds, it’s not a disaster. I have never heard that the Tour was decided on four seconds.”