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Tour de France

Primož Roglič and Jonas Vingegaard: ‘We make each other stronger’ at the Tour de France

Jumbo-Visma duo says arriving to the Alps with all GC options fully intact is key in bid to derail Tadej Pogačar.

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Primož Roglič and Jonas Vingegaard bring of formidable combination in Jumbo-Visma‘s quest for the yellow jersey at the Tour de France.

The Dutch team is betting that a stronger unit is the key to beating back nemesis Tadej Pogačar and UAE Team Emirates.

“We make each other stronger,” Roglič said Wednesday. “Jonas is super strong, and when you have strong individuals, also the whole team is getting stronger.”

The Slovenian has gotten the best of Jumbo-Visma the past two editions of the Tour, and the Dutch team is betting everything that the collective might of its deep lineup will be enough to beat back Pogačar.

“By simply doing the best all of us together, to show we are a strong team. We have a lot of qualities with each individual, so long as we can pull together, that means we believe that we can beat [Pogačar],” Roglič said.

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The team’s finished second the past two editions, first with Roglič in 2020, and Vingegaard last year. For 2022, Jumbo-Visma brings both riders as protected leaders.

Vingegaard agreed that two is better than one.

“It makes a big difference if we are two compared to one,” Vingegaard said. “Of course, Primož crashed out last year, so we need to get to the mountains healthy. A lot of things can happen in the Tour de France. There is so much stress and crashes, anything can happen for us and everyone else.”

The first week will prove decisive

Roglič’s Tour de France crumbled in a stage 3 crash in 2021. (BENOIT TESSIER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Last year, Roglič crashed out in the first week, and Vingegaard stepped up dramatically from his helper role to give Jumbo-Visma its second straight Tour podium.

This year, the team’s goal is to survive the first week, and ride into the Alps in the second of the race with all their options fully in play.

“We have to survive the first week, and then we will check the status. We want to go with two leaders, and we believe that we can challenge Pogačar in the end,” Vingegaard said.

Wout van Aert, who is also chasing the green jersey, said the first week will be critical to decide who wins the Tour.

“Hopefully we can get through the first hectic week with Jonas and Primož, and we can be the big competitor for Pogačar,” Van Aert said. “He is the big favorite, and we will try to give him competition. With two leaders like we have, it’s a huge advantage.

“I think the past showed it’s a good thing to have more leaders than one,” Van Aert said. “A lot of things can happen, with bad things like crashes and bad luck, I see this as a huge advantage to have more leaders on the team than one.”

After struggling in the past two editions of the Tour, Roglič said he’s not looking past any stage or focusing too much on the cobbles in stage 5.

“From my experience, you need to come through every stage in the Tour de France,” he said. “It’s not just stage 5, we have 21 stages. You need to be the best version of yourself for 21 days, so that’s what you try to prepare for.”

Both start as protected leaders

Does Tadej Pogačar have a weak spot? Jumbo-Visma is hoping to put him under pressure. (Photo: Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Sport director Grischa Neirmann said the team’s collective strength could be its secret weapon.

“The best case scenario is that we are strong enough so that we can drop Pogačar on every climb, but the odds are that will not happen, so then you need a very strong team if that doesn’t work, and you need two leaders to put him under pressure,” Neirmann said. “We are confident that we can compete with him. We need everybody to be at their absolute top level and we need a strong team, and we need a multiple leader strategy.”

Neirmann said both start as equally protected leaders, and said the first week will be keep to see which rider the team eventually backs.

“We saw at the Dauphiné that they are both at a very good and that’s important when you want to compete for victory at the Tour de France,” Neimann said. “We will see already maybe on Friday there could be some gaps between them and we have to see if we can both get through the first week. They are both in really good shape and they are close to each other in their shape. We need to stay at the front during the first week. We are not afraid of that first week.”