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“We can no longer attack like on the Col du Granon,” Vingegaard warned this week.
The Tour’s defending champion forecasts hopeful fans won’t see a repeat of the stage-for-the-ages antics that played out deep in the French Alps during this summer’s Tour.
Stage 11 across the Col du Galibier and Granon saw Vingegaard and teammates Primoz Roglič, Sepp Kuss, and Wout van Aert blow Tadej Pogačar out of the yellow jersey in an attacking onslaught that ripped up the script on GC racing. It was hailed one of the best days of grand tour racing in memory and proved crucial in Jumbo-Visma finally capturing the Tour title.
But it could be a different scenario in 2023. Vingegaard’s co-captain Roglič is all-in for the Giro d’Italia and Pogačar is one year the wiser after learning the lessons of his over-exuberant, under-fuelled Alpine downfall.
“I’ll be the only leader in the cols,” Vingegaard told Sporza. “Of course that makes a difference.”
“Wout van Aert will also be given freedom and we will continue to race aggressively as we always do, but we can no longer attack like on the Col du Granon,” the Dane continued.
‘We figured out how to defeat Pogačar’
Vingegaard scored Jumbo-Visma its first Tour title off the back of the team’s forward-thinking approach to all-things racing.
The ambitious Dutch powerhouse is already hatching a new masterplan as it looks to prolong its tenure at the top of the peloton.
“We figured out how to defeat Pogacar last year. We know his strengths and the areas in which Jonas is superior to him,” team manager Merijn Zeeman said. “We return to the Tour with a solid plan, and we believe that we can aim for yellow again with Jonas.”
Jumbo-Visma won’t reveal its full “Tour eight” until a lot nearer the Basque “Grand Depart.”
Kuss, Van Aert, Christophe Laporte, and Tiesj Benoot are all likely shoo-ins for the startlist while Roglič skips the race for the first time since 2019.
Team staffers remain confident that Vingegaard can handle solo leadership in a 2023 Tour already touted as a Jumbo-Visma vs UAE Emirates prizefight.
And Vingegaard? They don’t call him the “ice man” for nothing.
“It’s different going to the Tour now, compared to last year. Somehow there’s more pressure but also less pressure because we did it,” he said. “If I don’t win it again in my career, I can still be super happy with what I’ve done.”