Jonas Vingegaard: I didn't expect to have such a good day

Dane extends GC lead to 7:35 over Tadej Pogačar on Tour de France Queen stage

Clock02:30, Thursday 20th July 2023
Jonas Vingegaard and Wilco Kelderman on the upper slopes of the Col de la Loze

© Velo Collection (TDW) / Getty Images

Jonas Vingegaard and Wilco Kelderman on the upper slopes of the Col de la Loze

After yesterday’s demonstration in the time trial, stage 17 of the Tour de France was only likely to go one way: in favour of Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma). What was surprising was the manner in which it did. With just shy of 8km of brutally steep climbing left on the Col de la Loze, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) was gone from the main group and Vingegaard’s Tour victory was all but confirmed.

When he climbed onto the podium at the end of the stage to collect another yellow jersey, Vingegaard had amassed a GC buffer of 7:35 over the Slovenian. It could not be more different to what the race’s landscape was just two days ago when there was a mere ten seconds between the pair.

"I didn’t expect to have such a good day,” Vingegaard said. “It’s hard to describe. I’m really relieved – getting a seven-minute gap is great. We are not in Paris yet, there are tricky stages to come, and I’m sure Tadej will try to do something. There are still some exciting things to come in this Tour.”

Jonas Vingegaard and his Jumbo-Visma team were surgical in their plan of attack, even with Tadej Pogačar falling victim to his “worst day ever on a bike.” Even without the Slovenian suffering a true jour sans, it seemed like Vingegaard was simply waiting for this particular big day in the mountains, with hints throughout saying that this particular Tour would be separated by minutes and not seconds at the end.

“We’re working from the plan. Mostly it’s the performance team who make the plan on what my qualities are, I think they do it already in December,” Vingegaard told the media after the finish. “They do it kind of early and then they work on it all the time. I would say even with yesterday’s result, we didn’t change the plan. We stuck to the plan because we thought it was the best plan. We talked about it before, we really believe in the plan that we made.”

The plan, which involved riders both within the breakaway and riders on the front of the peloton was one that was comprehensive and the team seemed to be ready for every eventuality. One of those riders up the road was the Dutchman Wilco Kelderman. Kelderman, who is in his own right one of the best climbers in the pro peloton, was the key Jumbo-Visma player up ahead of the main contenders on the slopes of the final climb up the Col de la Loze.

“Not from very early on but we know that this is a stage that would suit Jonas,” Wilco Kelderman said. “High altitude; really long climbing; it’s really perfect for Jonas so before the Tour we already knew this was a stage for him. And yeah then you still need to race and see how the concourse will be but in the end it was a perfect day.”

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