Vingegaard on Being in Yellow: ‘I preferred to try something and reach out for the victory’

By Monica Buck

“It’s true that it was a risk but on the other hand, I think both Primož and I have been second in the Tour already.“

Yesterday, Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) became the first Dane since Michael Rasmussen in 2007 to wear the yellow jersey at the Tour. And while Rasmussen had to later abandon the race, Vingegaard is set to take it all the way to Paris. He knew he had to attack on the queen stage in the Alps. And he did so in an astonishing fashion.

“If I didn’t try anything here, I’d probably be second again but I preferred to try something and reach out for the victory, which we did today. I think it shows the mentality of the team, it’s incredible for me and also for the team.

“We wanted to attack from far, we wanted to try with Primož, and I think that shows again how big a rider Primož is. He was up for this plan, he really fought for it, and he went deep so we could challenge Tadej.”

Despite the numerous attacks that Pogačar faced, he didn’t look phased at all.

“I took a chance,” Vingegaard admitted. “To be honest, I didn’t know if he was suffering but the team told me on the radio it would be steep with 5 km to go. I was thinking, ‘Either they make it hard or I try to attack.’ And that’s what I did. I wanted to attack, and luckily, I could. In the end, I got a gap on him.”

“On the Galibier over the top, he was very strong and he dropped everyone else, and I was a bit insecure about whether he was going full or not,” Vingegaard said in his post-stage press conference. “But on the last climb, I said if I don’t try, I’m not going to win.”

“I was getting energy from hearing that the gap was growing but it was also a really brutal climb, and I was suffering a lot and I just wanted it to be over. I was completely on the limit from 3 km to go already,” Vingegaard admitted.  “To be honest, when we did the recon of the stage, I didn’t do the last climb on the bike. I jumped in the car, so I didn’t experience it myself. Today I did, and it was a brutal climb.”

So what about the upcoming days? Vingegaard still gives the 23-year-old Slovenian a lot of respect, no matter the fact that he’s trailing 2 minutes and 22 seconds.

“I still see Tadej as maybe the biggest competitor and I expect he will try to attack me every day when he has the chance,” Vingegaard explained. “For sure, it will be a hard race from now until Paris but we’ll just do our best every day.”

„It’s not over yet,“ Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) said after the stage. We’re in for a big one.