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Jumbo-Visma sees room for more from Tour de France captains: ‘We’re confident they can grow’

Primož Roglič, Wout van Aert, Jonas Vingegaard flood the top seven in Critérium du Dauphiné TT as team dials down details ahead of Tour de France.

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If a time trial is an ultimate test of form, Jumbo-Visma’s three Tour de France captains came out of their Critérium du Dauphiné examination with a solid B-grade.

Wout van Aert, Jonas Vingegaard, and Primož Roglič flooded the top seven in a stage that showed who’s running hot ahead of the Tour’s Grand Départ in three weeks’ time.

“This was a very important measuring moment towards the Tour de France,” Jumbo Visma’s training guru Mathieu Heijboer told Wielerflits. “This is the last time trial the boys will ride before the Tour. So this was the test for us before the opening time trial in Copenhagen.”

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Jumbo-Visma yellow dominated Wednesday’s long leg-burner into La Bâtie d’Urfé.

Van Aert was a very close second behind TT king Filippo Ganna, Roglič was fifth at 0:42 back, and his Danish wingman Vingegaard stopped the clock seventh at 1:12.

Couldn’t get much better, right?

Well, actually it can. Jumbo-Visma sees more to come from the only three riders currently guaranteed a spot in the Tour.

“It’s hard to say in percentages, but we certainly haven’t done everything necessary in the training build for the Tour de France. We use the Dauphiné and the weeks [training at altitude] in Tignes for that,” Heijboer said. “We are certainly confident that they can grow, which makes these achievements very hopeful.”

Tadej Pogačar is choosing home racing in Slovenia for his final Tour tune-up, while Ineos Grenadiers’ GC candidates Adam Yates and Daniel Martínez are heading to the endless climbs of Tour de Suisse next week.

In Pogačar’s absence, Roglič and Vingegaard surged way ahead of a stack of second-tier Tour contenders like Ben O’Connor, David Gaudu, and Enric Mas in a stage that serves as a benchmark for the Tour’s potentially decisive 40km time trial.

Two months away from racing rehabilitating a knee problem hadn’t pulled the handbrake too hard on Olympic champ Roglič’s high-revving engine. Time training atop Tignes in the weeks to come will bring the crucial pre-Tour gains.

“It’s going OK. Definitely, I’m not at my best, but I need these kinds of things to improve,” Roglič told reporters as he cooled down on the trainer. “I would say mentally I’m good, definitely. I’m pleased with my performance, I really pushed myself and I’m happy about that.”

Van Aert narrowly missed victory once again Wednesday but takes a commanding lead in the race for the Dauphiné’s yellow jersey.

The Belgian is unlikely to hold his 53-second Dauphiné advantage through the mountainous final weekend but is, instead, thinking of the far more celebrated maillot jaune that will be awarded after the Tour’s 13km opener.

“Perhaps the most important thing is that I received confirmation today that I am on the right track towards Copenhagen in terms of legs, equipment, and preparation,” Van Aert said.

“This is good news, especially with the knowledge that I normally get even stronger from a week of hard racing like the Dauphiné. The first time trial of the Tour is definitely a big goal for me.”

Three in the top seven and with plans for more says it all.

Jumbo-Visma is leaving no stone unturned in its road back to the Tour and the problem that is Pogačar.