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Jonas Vingegaard and the triumph of Jumbo-Visma

Tears, and more tears. Endless hugs. Jonas Vingegaard, hardly the line crossed, golden tunic assured, in tears in the arms of his wife Trine and his daughter Frida. Wout van Aert, stage against the clock conquered, big guy who collapses on the shoulder of Richard Plugge, the general manager of his Jumbo-Visma formation. Then the green jersey and the yellow jersey who meet and congratulate each other for a long time, with great pats on the back.

There was emotion to spare, this Saturday, July 23 in Rocamadour, at the arrival of the penultimate meeting of the Tour. Because the nerves were giving way too, after three grueling weeks, and because the essential was done, in style. The Belgian ogre in front of the Danish climber and their Slovenian opponent Tadej Pogacar, the perfect summary of this Grande Boucle 2022: the Jumbo-Visma in front, the others behind.

Jonas Vigegaard, pattern size

It was not written at the start of Denmark. Most observers were betting big on Tadej Pogacar (UAE Emirates), double reigning winner and conqueror since the start of the season. Jonas Vingaard? Wasn’t he a bit too tender, the 25-year-old champion, a nice boy who never dared speak louder than another? And where did he come from, this sweet Scandinavian, who went almost unnoticed before finding himself on the front of the stage, second in the Tour after the abandonment of his leader Primoz Roglic in 2021?

From a time when he pedaled without confidence, too anxious to really break free, with the paralyzing fear of doing wrong. He said it, however: the Tour 2021 had changed him, revealing in his own eyes all his potential. Who really believed him? Certainly his team. It only took a few days, confirmed by the astonishing takeover at the top of the terrible Col du Granon, to understand that the boss-size suit was not so bad for the Danish weakling. His rival Tadej Pogacar could make the powder talk and win three stages, it was Jonas Vingegaard who put his mark on the Tour, “on the pedal” as the experts say.

Wout van Aert, insatiable troublemaker of the Tour de France

And with the help of an overpowered team collecting this year the yellow, the green, the best climber’s polka dot jersey and the title of “super combative” for Wout van Aert. In Rocamadour, between two sobs, Jonas Vingegaard, commenting on the general fever, told a man’s story: “It shows how close we all are in this team, and that something special unites us. These guys are really my friends, brothers even I might say. » A group of friends, who, before arriving on the Champs-Élysées, had six stage victories to their name, including the only French one, Friday July 22 in Cahors, for Christophe Laporte.

Performances that leave you skeptical

According to the management of Jumbo (a chain of supermarkets)-Visma (a management software), everything is in the “professionalization” of the team. Christophe Laporte precisely, ex-Cofidis recruited in the fall, abounds: “Everything is calculated, nothing is left to chance: the preparation, the nutrition, the equipment. »

Let’s take this last example: more bicycles on board than the other teams (about twenty in addition), lighter (it is played at a few tens of grams), undoubtedly more expensive (15,000 € per jewel). Management, in fashionable managerial jargon, also evokes “involvement” troops in the collective project. It is a question of “total cycling”, in reference to the “total football” of all-out attack worn by Ajax Amsterdam since the 1970s.

Explanations that annoy a bit on the side of the other teams. Cédric Vasseur, the manager of Cofidis, translates the general feeling well: “On the preparation, we are not amateurs and the explanations on their superior rigor are not admissible. The difference comes mainly from their ability to recruit very good runners. But that they ride for all the awards at once and get them, I’ve never seen that in cycling. I need hindsight to analyze such domination. »

So inevitably, the specter of doping lurks, as with each exceptional performance. Tadej Pogacar raised many questions before. It’s now Jonas Vingegaard’s turn to face the ambient skepticism: “We are clean, I can guarantee it to you all, he said on Saturday. No one does anything illegal with us. » We only ask to believe it.

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The Women’s Tour takes over

They were 144, this Sunday July 24 on the Champs-Élysées at the start of the women’s Tour de France, which offers eight stages for its return until the ascent of the super Planche des Belles Filles on Sunday July 31. A long-awaited rebirth by female runners, who lacked a large-scale competition since the first versions of the Tour in the 1980s. of the women’s EEC which only had four editions from 1990 to 1993, the champions had little more than the Course by the Tour – over one day since 2014, programmed by the organizers of the Tour – to get their teeth into. The objective, with this revival, is to succeed in perpetuating the event. Dutch sprinter Lorena Wiebes won the first stage in Paris and is wearing the first yellow jersey.

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