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Jumbo-Visma: ‘It’s not decided that Jonas Vingegaard will go to 2023 Tour de France’

Team director Merijn Zeeman leaves door open to Tour de France champion making his Giro d'Italia debut in 2023.

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Jonas Vingegaard hasn’t booked a ticket to the Basque Country for the opening stage of the 2023 Tour de France just yet.

Jumbo-Visma is waiting on a series of planning meetings before confirming whether the Dane will be back to defend his Tour title after he ousted Tadej Pogačar from the yellow jersey this summer.

“It’s not decided yet that Jonas will go to the Tour. Jonas is on holiday now, when he comes back I want to hear his ideas as well,” lead sport director Merijn Zeeman told VeloNews this week.

“Of course, I think it’s pretty obvious that when you win the yellow jersey, you defend it the year after. So I would say it’s pretty obvious [he does that] – but it’s not a decision, that’s very clear. I want to discuss all these things with Jonas and the other coaches.”

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Vingegaard scored Jumbo-Visma its long-sought yellow jersey in a taught duel with Pogačar this summer.

The Dutch team foiled the two-time champion on the Galibier, and Vingegaard fended him off in the final week.

Zeeman hinted that the time trial-heavy 2023 Giro d’Italia that was revealed this week could tempt Vingegaard to rip up the script and prioritize the Italian race over a Tour title defense in 2023.

“Jonas has never raced the Giro, so that’s an option for him if he wants,” he said.

ASO uncorks its parcours for the 2023 Tour next Thursday.

The details of a race due to roll out of Basque city Bilbao will determine how Jumbo-Visma shuffles a GC deck that includes triple Vuelta a España champion Primož Roglič and new recruit Wilco Kelderman.

“I want to hear Primož’s opinion as well, and I want to speak to all our performance staff and coaches,” Zeeman said in a call this week.

“It takes us about two months to prepare all this, then in December we’ll know what to do.”

Giro time trials could tempt Tour champion

Vingegaard came close to bettering teammate Van Aert in the Tour’s penultimate TT this summer. (Photo by Dario Belingheri/Getty Images)

Giro d’Italia organizers RCS Sport this week unveiled an old-school as possible route for next year.

Seventy kilometers of time trialing and a punishing third week will put specialist rouleurs in the driving seat.

“You have to be a TT specialist to win it, that’s for sure. I saw the comments from [Jai] Hindley that it was not ideal for him, and, I agree on that,” Zeeman said of next year’s corsa rosa.

“Of course, you need to be a very complete bike rider with the high mountains and very hard mountain stages, but in the TTs there are many minutes to grab for these guys.”

All assumptions point to Jumbo-Visma sending Olympic champion Roglič back to the Giro for the first time since his breakout ride in 2019. Vingegaard would return to take on Pogačar for the Tour’s maillot jaune.

But Zeeman isn’t writing anything off just yet.

“And Jonas, eh? Look at the last two TTs of the Tour. He’s also a TT specialist. Especially when he is on his finest form,” he said.

“Pogačar, he’s a TT specialist, Remco [Evenepoel], that’s pretty obvious. I would say Primož, Jonas, Pogačar, Evenepoel. I think these four are at the moment the best TT specialist in the world. They can handle this Giro parcours very well.”