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Vingegaard and the Tour: ‘Jonas will decide for himself’

The biggest race in the world is almost here–will the Dane be there?

Fan shocked to see Jonas Vingegaard with hairy legs

The question on every cycling fan’s lips: will we see Jonas Vingegaard at the start of the Tour de France in Florence? That decision will ultimately be up to the defending champion himself, according to Visma | Lease a Bike’s directeur sportif Merijn Zeeman.

From the flat roads of Denmark to the high mountains

His coach Tim Heemskerk confirmed that after some base miles in Denmark, Vingegaard progressed to the point where he can tackle riding in the tough mountains.

“He has been away with his family in Mallorca, but now he has now begun altitude training,” the Dutch trainer said. It’s a new step for him, and now it’s starting to look like normal training.”

Danish team does not select Jonas Vingegaard for Olympics

The Tour begins June 29, and it’s still not clear if the Dane will be there. Like most at the Dutch team, Heemswerk hopes that Jonas Vingegaard will be there. Right now he is trying to get into shape for Visma’s high-altitude training camp in June, where the team’s Tour riders will gather in Tignes for their final preparation.

The clock is ticking

“We are trying to improve his fitness on the bike, but also strengthen his shoulder through exercises and get him closer to his optimal weight,” Heemskerk added. “My hope is that he can train with the rest of the team when they come to Tignes after Dauphiné for the training camp ahead of the Tour and become a full-fledged member of the team. No decision has been made yet.’

But being fit, and fit enough to win the Tour de France are two different things.

Not riding the Tour for participation awards

“He must be able to perform the toughest endurance training; the intensity, the intervals, the long endurance rides,” Zeeman said in an interview with Wielerrevue on Monday.”A rider who may not be at his own top level, but who is ready for it both physically as well mentally. He has to be looking forward to that and have the feeling: I am completely back and can fight with the best for three weeks. If that is not the case, Jonas cannot and will not ride.”

Zeeman said that the final decision will rest with Vinegaard himself. He had previously said that the 27-year-old would only race if the team thought he was capable of winning. His fitness cannot be 90 per cent, it must be at full capacity.

“Jonas will decide for himself whether or not he will go to the Tou de France. That means he has to feel for himself whether he is completely ready for it in all respects and whether he is the old Jonas again. Therefore the choice is his. We will never force a rider to take to compete,” the he added. “I don’t think that decision can be made until a week before the start of the race. We do not have another rider of his level and with his characteristics in the team. Heis so extremely talented that he can grow to a high level very quickly if he is taxable. That means he has a special place for us and we will indeed be waiting for a long time.”