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Who’d be the parents of a potential Tour de France winner? Just as Jonas Vingegaard put in the attack which earned him the yellow jersey on the Col du Granon, the Wifi in the family’s camper van stopped working.
While following the race, it had been struck by lightning earlier in the week. “The image dropped five meters after Jonas attacked on Planche des Belles Filles too,” they told L’Equipe. “We thought he’d won, but when signal came back, it turned out he was second.”
They found a solution: some friendly neighbors at their campsite, who had a satellite dish and were big Jumbo-Visma fans. When they realized who the Vingegaards were, that sealed the deal and they were invited over.
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His father Claus, a salmon farm builder, and mother Karina took the young Vingegaard on cycling holidays around Europe as a kid.
“When he was 12 in 2009, we went to Croatia and realized he was a good climber because, even though he was little, he caught the other cyclo-tourists one by one,” his father Claus says. “At first, he rode next to me and was talking away. I could hardly breathe, so I said: ‘Shut up, I can’t speak.’”
The following year, Vingegaard spent their Swiss holiday glued to the TV and asked whether they could go to France so he could ride the same climbs as the race’s winner at the time, Alberto Contador.
With his younger sister Michelle also competing in her youth, the Vingegaards would often be away at Danish races through the spring and summer.
— L'ÉQUIPE (@lequipe) July 16, 2022
The family went to Alpe d’Huez in 2013, with Vingegaard riding the upper part of the climbs several times, as well as local climbs like the Col du Glandon, Col de la Croix de Fer, and the Col du Galibier.
“I think we rode some of them several times: me in the car and Jonas in front. When he was 17, he did it alone. He was happy when he got back, you could see it on his face.”
“We didn’t push him, but we always accompanied him. We could see that he had something.”
His ability in the mountains was already clear. When Vingegaard rode Alpe d’Huez in 2015 before Thibaut Pinot’s Tour stage win there, he went so fast that “the fans already there were clapping and cheering for him.”
The following week, he clocked 40-52 for the 11.94km section from Bourg d’Oisans to the old Alpe finish, the eighth best amateur rider.
Vingegaard has never been afraid to put in the work on or off the bike, working in a fish factory to supplement his income during his early years racing in Denmark as a Continental rider with ColoQuick.
He didn’t win much as a junior racer but blossomed in 2018, winning the prologue for the Giro della Valle d’Aosta. The Dane turned professional with Jumbo-Visma that winter at the age of 22.
His first WorldTour win followed the next summer at the Tour of Poland. 2021 saw his most prominent results, winning a stage of the UAE Tour and the Settimana Coppi e Bartali, backed up by a surprise second place in the Tour de France.
Now, he is closing in on glory in the 2022 edition, with defending champion Tadej Pogačar as his closest challenger.
Hopefully, his parents’ Wifi connection holds strong for the Pyrenees and beyond because the racing will definitely be worth watching.