The image had become a clic of the Tour de France 2022: as soon as the finish line was crossed, Jonas Vingegaard rushed to a phone to talk to Trine Hansen, his partner and the mother of their little girl. This year, on the roads of the Critérium du Dauphiné, the ritual of the Danish cyclist has not changed; after all, isn’t the event presented as a repeat of the Grande Boucle (from 1er July 23)?
Sunday June 11, at the end of the final day, it was again with his family that the leader of the Jumbo-Visma celebrated his victory in the general clification, a few minutes after taking second place of the day, behind the Italian Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo), at the top of the wall leading to the Bastille (1.8 kilometers at 14.2% gradient), the military fort overlooking the city.
From the kick-off of this 75e edition, the last winner of the Tour de France was announced as the great favorite of a race which he had finished in the 2e place in 2022 – behind his teammate, the Slovenian Primoz Roglic. Some slight doubts still remained, because Jonas Vingegaard had been rather rare since the start of the season.
Before the Dauphiné, he had only competed in three events, but won two of them: O Gran Camiño, in Galicia, at the end of February, without losing a single stage, then the Tour of the Basque Country, at the beginning of April, where he had raised his arms three times. This Sunday, he concludes his adventure with a new coronation and two stage successes, gleaned during the eight days of competition.
His arrival alone, the day before, at the top of the Croix-de-Fer (13.1 kilometers at 6.2%) at an altitude of 2,067 meters, with more than 40 seconds ahead of the Briton Adam Yates ( UAE Emirates) had sealed its final victory; the native of Bury, in the north of England, his runner-up in the general clification, then accused more than 2 minutes of disburts. At the epilogue, he points to 2 min 23 s behind the Dane.
To be quite frank, the case even seemed to have already been settled, two days earlier, before starting the high mountain. In Salins-les-Bains, in the Jura, the climber of the Jumbo-Visma had signed a coup by detaching his rivals in the Côte de Thésy (3.6 kilometers at 8.8%), at about fifteen kilometers of the line. “He was unplayable, a notch above in the climb, he was not followable”summed up then, on arrival, the Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe.
The unknown Pogacar
The 2020 and 2021 world champion, for his part, completes a Dauphiné which will have allowed him to regain confidence after complicated months, the consequences of his fall during the 2022 edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège. “I’m very happy with this week of racing, it’s really good to find the legs to fight at this level”rejoiced the Soudal – Quick-Step puncher, winner of the second day of racing – his second success of the year.
Another Habs in sight, Christophe Laporte can boast of having raised his arms twice during this week – during the first and third stages – and even to have worn the yellow jersey for a few days. The Varois confirms his good start to the season, where he took off the Ghent-Wevelgem and Across Flanders clics in March. He also confirms his status as a solid teammate, he who will be at the maneuver in July to allow Vingegaard, his leader in the Jumbo, to make the p of two on the roads of the Tour de France.
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The deal will have been a little more complicated for David Gaudu, handsome 4e of the last Grande Boucle and only 30e overall, more than 25 minutes from the Dane, at the end of this Dauphiné. Nothing to panic Valentin Madouas, lieutenant of the Breton of the Groupama-FDJ: “We did a very big internship and I think we are tired. We are in transition times, we are here to work”insisted the latter after Thursday’s stage.
If this great repetition will have allowed Jonas Vingegaard to get used to wearing the yellow jersey again, there is however one variable that he could not test: Tadej Pogacar. Victim of a broken wrist during Liège-Bastogne-Liège, on April 23, the prodigy of the UAE Emirates team has not raced since. But he continues to train with the undisguised objective of recovering his tunic on the Tour de France, of which he won the 2020 and 2021 editions.
Their only confrontation this year, on the roads of Paris-Nice, had moreover turned to the advantage of the Slovenian, the Dane being satisfied with the 3e place. It was in March. An eternity. Especially since Jonas Vingegaard has already warned during this Dauphiné: “I don’t think I’m at my peak of form. » It promises !