As the peloton headed down the Champs Élysées for the final lap, Jonas Vingegaard did something he’d pretty much never done during this 110th Tour de France: he dropped back – along with all his teammates. And while the Belgian Jordi Meeus from the German Bora-Hansgrohe team surprisingly prevailed against the favorite Jasper Philipsen in the fight for the prestigious day’s victory, Vingegaard enjoyed the last meters of this tour side by side with his colleagues.
For the second time in a row, the Dane has won the Tour de France, for the second time in a row ahead of Slovenian Tadej Pogacar. “It was an incredible fight this year. It was really hard to beat it,” Vingegaard said the night before. Last year his lead over Pogacar after three weeks was 2:43 minutes, this time it was almost seven and a half minutes after the Slovenian broke on the queen stage. “I cracked myself. Nobody else,” returned Pogacar. At least the Slovene had a conciliatory finish on Saturday when he won the last difficult mountain stage through the Vosges.
For Vingegaard, meanwhile, everything went according to plan, particularly on the queen stage and in his unreal individual time trial, when he edged Pogacar by 1m38s. He can understand the doubts about his performance, he said during the tour, after all he and Pogacar undercut many climbing records from the dark era of their sport. But he doesn’t take anything, Vingegaard insisted, that he wouldn’t give to his two-year-old daughter.
Meanwhile, with the German team Bora, they celebrated the unexpectedly successful conclusion of this tour. “We didn’t expect to win at all today,” said team boss Ralph Denk: “That Jordi Meeus wins here as an unknown sprinter – a huge success for us.” Bora had already enjoyed success in the Tour’s first week when Australia’s Jai Hindley won a stage in the Pyrenees and was allowed to wear the yellow jersey for a day. A podium for the captain was the aim, which did not come about, among other things, due to a fall by Hindley in the Alps; he finally finished seventh overall.
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