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Tour de France

Jumbo-Visma fires warning shot to rivals: ‘We are ready for the Tour de France’

Jumbo-Visma's first victory in franchise history at the Critérium du Dauphiné sends a warning shot to its rivals ahead of the Tour de France.

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BONNEVILLE, France (VN) — Dutch super-team Jumbo-Visma sent a warning shot to its direct Tour de France rivals with a podium party Sunday that lasted a long time.

The yellow jackets from the Netherlands won first and second overall at the Critérium du Dauphiné, with Primož Roglič and Jonas Vingegaard, the green points jersey with Wout Van Aert, three stages, and the teams’ prize.

It capped a near-perfect week that also saw Van Aert win two other stages and Vingegaard win one, as the team dominated the race from start to finish.

“It’s incredible. We had everything under control, not just today, but the whole week,” Roglič said after making his trademark ski jumper victory salute.

“These are super strong guys. I am pleased to be part of it, and we can take a lot of confidence out of this race. It shows we are a strong team.”

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Before Sunday, Jumbo-Visma had never stepped on the Critérium du Dauphiné podium in its decades-long history in the peloton.

It changed the narrative with an utterly dominant performance across the week that sent a warning shot to its rivals for next month’s Tour de France.

“It’s super motivating, and it gives a lot of confidence to finish off a week in the Dauphiné like this,” Van Aert said. “It’s hard to say if Primož is improving because he doesn’t have much to improve. He’s won three times the Vuelta, but he was unlucky a few times in the Tour.

“The strength of the team is even a bigger advantage than in the last years, and I believe this will be key in the Tour this year.”

Jumbo-Visma is on a mission to win the yellow jersey in July.

It has been second in the past two editions, with Roglič in 2020, and Vingegaard in 2021, both times behind Tadej Pogačar.

The team hopes its collective strength can give it an edge against Pogačar next month.

Sport director Grischa Niermann confirmed that Roglič and Vingegaard will start as co-leaders for the Tour, with Van Aert playing his own cards in the time trials, stages, and the hunt for the green points jersey.

“We will go to the Tour with two leaders. Jonas is on a good level, and he will be there also,” Niermann said. “Primož is always up for taking on Tadej. We will see who will come out stronger in July.

“I think it’s more the team [to face off against Pogačar]. They both can take on Pogačar if they are strong enough. We saw Jonas dropping Pogačar last year on a stage,” Niermann said. “The belief is there on our side, but it’s also clear that Pogačar, who has won in the past two years, is the main favorite.”

The team hopes to carry momentum into July. After a short break, the team will converge on Tignes high in the French Alps to put the finishing touches on form and fitness.

But is there a risk of reading too much into Jumbo-Visma’s absolute domination at the Dauphiné?

Australian rider Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious) went so far as to call the team the “clear favorites” for the Tour, adding the caveat that everyone needs to see how Tadej Pogačar performs at the Tour of Slovenia next week.

Haig also pointed out that Jumbo-Visma was the only major team to send its A-list to the Dauphiné, with nearly every rider who is expected to start the Tour, with the exception of Sepp Kuss and Rohan Dennis, both racing the Tour de Suisse this week.

“Jumbo-Visma rode really well, but they are the only team to really bring their heavy hitters here,” Haig said. “Ineos, UAE, and Bora sent some guys to the Tour de Suisse. But there’s no doubt they’re strong.”

Jumbo-Visma’s near-perfect week has the confidence level frothing sky high inside the team bus.

“I believe we can go to the Tour with a lot of confidence,” said Steven Kruijswijk, who took huge turns in the Alps to set up his leaders. “I think we are on track if you see how the guys are doing here. We have had a good camp and we’ve been together for some time now. Everybody is focused on doing their job.”

And then there is the Pogačar factor. No matter how good the team might be, Pogačar has proven he can beat both Roglič and Vingegaard one-on-one.

Perhaps Jumbo-Visma can try to isolate Pogačar, and see Roglič and Vingegaard taking turns attacking them, and perhaps one of them can drive a wedge and put Pogačar on the defensive.

Hope springs eternal, and right now, Jumbo-Visma has momentum at its back. Everyone inside the team bus will be hoping it can keep the pressure on all the way to the finish line in Paris on July 24.

That’s nearly six weeks away from the champagne corks flying at the Dauphiné podium.