October 3, 2022

Great Indian Mutiny

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Jonas Weinggaard prepared to win the Tour de France at the second attempt

Jonas Weinggaard prepared to win the Tour de France at the second attempt

PARIS – Headed down and legs tossed, Jonas Weinggaard crossed the finish line on Saturday’s penultimate stage of the Tour de France and wrapped his hand over his mouth, as if to choke on a gasp. He did what he came for, and his amazing achievement was sinking.

In his second Tour de France, and just three years after becoming a professional cyclist, Vingegaard, the 25-year-old Danish racer, took his victory in the most famous cycling race.

His victory became official on Sunday, when he wrapped up the race with his traditional festive ride in Paris. But the tour was Effective way For days, when Vingegaard finished second in Saturday’s time trial for his Jumbo-Visma teammate, Wout van Aert of Belgium, his effort on the 25-mile course was enough to leave him with such a big lead in the overall standings – 3 minutes 34 seconds before his nearest pursuit – That final stage didn’t bring any drama at all.

Vingegaard steered clear of danger in the final laps in Paris, crossing – safely – alongside his teammates behind the peloton. His winning time was 79 hours 33 minutes 20 seconds.

“Since last year I’ve always thought I could do it,” Vingegaard said on Saturday. “It’s a relief that I did that.”

After about three full weeks into the tour, Vingegaard, as he did on Saturday, immediately searched for his partner and young daughter in the area who crossed the finish line after trying the time and giving them a long, sweaty hug.

As Vingegaard rambled up and down all the endless hills and unforgiving mountains, and across all the flat roads behind flower fields and farms, he wanted to win them over. He said that during each day of sweltering heat that sometimes rose above 100 degrees, the sidewalk melting and some riders sidelined by heat stress, he had hardened himself for them.

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In the end, Vinggaard, who grew up in a small fishing town in northern Denmark, won what was arguably one of the most grueling rides in history.

Tadej Pogacar, the Slovenian rider looking for his third straight win on his Tour, finished second overall, 2:43 behind Vingegaard, after fighting Vingegaard for the lead until the final days of the race. Britain’s Geirant Thomas, the 2018 Tour winner, finished third, 7:22 off the lead. Every other rider was behind Vingegaard at least 13 minutes.

“I think the fight between me and Jonas was something really special,” Poojakar, 23, said on Saturday, acknowledging the end result. He offered one hint of Sunday’s upset: he ran late for the lead on the last lap on Sunday, although he immediately returned to the leading group.

“There will be interesting years ahead,” Pogacar said of his nascent rivalry with Vingegaard. “He’s come up from last year, he’s taken control of things from the start, and he’s proven to be a solid racer.”

Going into this round, Pogacar likely predicted Vingegaard would be his biggest contender after the unlikely Vingegaard finished in second place last year.

In 2021, Primus Roglic, best jumbo-visma rider, withdrew from the Tour after an accident, and Vinggaard took it upon himself. To show what he can do. His performance was amazing – and unexpected. On the dreaded Mont Ventoux, is Pogacar left behind To set one of the fastest times ever for this legendary climb.

Vingegaard’s entire career has been nothing short of a fairy tale played on two wheels and in full swing.

Six months before he joined Jumbo-Visma in 2019, he was working part-time at a Danish factory cleaning, cleaning and packing fish into boxes full of ice. Before that, he worked in a fish auction. He credits those days of getting up at 4 am and all that hard manual labor in the shivering cold for helping him get to where he is now, at the top of the cycling world.

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His team of Jumbo-Visma, especially Van Aert, was by his side all the way.

Van Aert had his great race, spending every day of the Tour except for the first in the green jersey, which is awarded to the rider who collects the most points for finishing the stage and in the sprint sections in the middle of the race. But perhaps his biggest achievement over the past three weeks has been his support for Vingegaard.

Van Aert was there with Vingegaard when his teammate needed him most on the grueling Hautacam climb that turned out to be the defining stage in all-out competition. He set off on a break and mercilessly dictated a fast pace, defying the idea, at 6ft 3, that young riders like Vingegaard and Pogacar are naturally the best climbers.

Pogacar, who was fighting Vingegaard for the overall lead, couldn’t keep up. As Vingegaard and van Aert continued to climb, the Pogacar faded, looking like a choppy-engine car as his Jumbo-Visma teammates advanced.

Team Jumbo-Visma won six of the 20th round stages that entered the final on Sunday. After Saturday’s stage, Vingegaard faced questions about his fantasy career. A reporter asked him about his rapid rise in the sport, how he could have finished 22nd in the 2019 Danish national time trial, then almost win Saturday’s trial three weeks into the Tour.

If Vingegaard was at all familiar with Tour history, or the history of Danish racing, he probably anticipated the question. The only other Dane to win the Tour was Bjarne Reiss in 1996, and a decade later Reiss admitted he had doped to win the race. Several previous winners, although none recently, have been caught doping or have admitted to.

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No, Vinggaard said, he didn’t speed up because he had dope. It happened because he and his team improved his aerodynamics by working in a wind tunnel and adjusting his body and bike position.

“We are totally clean,” he said at his press conference, and extended his denial to his entire team. “All of us. I can say that to each of you. None of us take anything illegal.”

He said high-altitude boot camps and attention to detail – in the food, in the equipment, in the preparation – were behind the rise of Jumbo Visa. “That’s why you have to trust,” he said.

Vingegaard seems to take sportsmanship very seriously. On one descent during stage 18, Pogacar crashed onto a piece of gravel while he and Vingegaard were climbing down a hill almost side by side. But instead of taking advantage of the fall of the Pogacar, Vingegaard waited for him on the road, Let his opponent catch up.

After getting back together, Pogacar continues with an expression of gratitude and hands clasped in a moment that will be brought back for years as an example of the sport’s good side.

But only one of them was invited to take the podium in Paris and celebrate on the Champs Elysees. Only one person should take photos and family memories that will last a lifetime. And only one person will be celebrated in their homeland this summer as the King of Cycling.

A series of festivities to honor Vingegaard have already been scheduled in Copenhagen, the city that hosted the start of this year’s Tour – the start of Vingegaard’s journey to victory.