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WheelsRoundup: Evenepoel Wins Dauphiné Time Trial; No Olympics for Vingegaard and Sagan

By Siegfried Mortkowitz

 Game on!

World time trial champion Remco Evenepoel showed that he has fully recovered from the injuries he sustained in the Itzulia Basque Country by winning Wednesday’s time trial in the Critérium du Dauphiné by 17 seconds over the European ITT champion Josh Tarling (INEOS Grenadiers).

But he might have wished to put more time between himself and his main rival for the Dauphiné GC, Primož Roglič (BORA-hansgrohe), who finished third at 39 seconds. Evenepoel now leads the GC race by 33 seconds over the Slovenian, with three difficult mountain stages to come. Visma–Lease a Bike’s impressive 24-year-old American Matteo Jorgenson finished fourth in the ITT and sits in third in the GC, 1:04 adrift.

Both Evenepoel and Roglič (who was also injured in the Itzulia) will be riding in the Tour de France, which starts on June 29. The Dauphiné has always been seen as a warmup for the Tour and an indication of the form of its prospective riders. If so, it looks as if both Evenepoel and Roglič have left their Itzulia injuries behind and are rounding into form nicely.

Evenepoel was of course delighted with his performance. “It has been quite a long way, three weeks almost with no bike and then only four weeks of training,” he told Eurosport after the stage. “Being on this level already is a good sign towards the Tour and also in my preparations. I can only be happy and proud of what I did today.”

Giro d’Italia winner Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) and defending Tour champion Jonas Vingegaard (Visma–Lease a Bike) will have watched this race with interest. If the Dane – who suffered the worst injuries in the crash that also brought down Evenepooel and Roglič – is given the green light for the Tour, it may yet be the Super Bowl of road racing all cycling fans have been dreaming about.

Vingegaard not included in Denmark’s Olympics team

Jonas Vingegaard
Vingegaard will skip the 2024 Olympic Games. © Profimedia

Jonas Vingegaard will not be riding in the Paris Olympics this time around. The Danish Olympic Committee did not include the two-time Tour de France champion in its four-man team, preferring instead Mikkel Bjerg (UAE Team Emirates), Michael Mørkøv (Astana Qazaqstan), and Mads Pedersen and Mattias Skjelmose (both from Lidl-Trek). All four will represent Denmark in the road race on August 3. Bjerg will also race in the time trial on July 27.

Though Vingegaard may be disappointed, he was not surprised. Last November he already said, “I hope that I will be selected, but it will not surprise me if I am not. It may well be that the national coach chooses four others instead.” The reason for his pessimism was, as he admitted, “I don’t think the route suits me particularly well. There are so many good riders in Denmark, and when there are only four places, nothing is certain.”

The 27-year-old Visma–Lease a Bike leader is known for his unrivalled ability on long, steep climbs. But while the 273km Olympics course has plenty of climbing, its 11 ascents are all short and steep and better suited to a strong all-around rider like Pedersen.

But Vingegaard is not giving up hope. “I still have a dream of riding the Olympics at some point,” he said last year.

Sagan’s Olympics dream also ends – for now

Seven-time Tour de France green jersey winner Peter Sagan famously retired from road racing in the hope of representing Slovakia at the Olympics in his first cycling love, mountain biking. A lot of elements had to align themselves for him to realize his Olympics dream, with both Slovakia and Sagan needing to accumulate enough points in the discipline to be allowed to compete in France this year.

Unfortunately, neither goal was attained, due in large part to Sagan’s health. He was diagnosed with a form of cardiac arrythmia, or irregular heartbeat, in February and had to undergo two surgical interventions, in February and March. As a result, he was unable to ride in subsequent MTB events, including the final qualifying event, at the Nové Mĕsto World Cup. As a result, both he and his national team did not amass enough points to be invited to the Olympics.

Sagan has not yet commented on the disappointing result. But, knowing his tenacity, he may already be looking ahead to the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. He will be 38 then, and no doubt eager to give it a last shot.