Tour de France champion Jonas Vingegaard is set to come out of his extended break from racing and finish his season with the CRO Race and Il Lombardia, reports La Gazzetta dello Sport.
The 25-year-old Dane has not raced since winning the Tour in July, following a hard-fought scrap with Tadej Pogacar (UAE-Team Emirates), who was second.
Vingegaard missed his home stage race — the Tour of Denmark — in August, and neither has he put himself forward for Worlds selection, to the bafflement of Denmark's national coaches. Jumbo-Visma is citing team commitments, but then again, Vingegaard has not raced in the World Championships since 2018, when he was 64th in the Under-23 road race.
"He has been having a tough time since the Tour," his Jumbo-Visma DS Frans Maassen told Danish media outlet Ekstra Bladet last month. "We have to understand that it was difficult to win the Tour de France, what with everything that comes with it."
Another Jumbo DS, Grischa Niermann, insisted it was normal that Vingegaard needed to take some time out: "He worked towards the Tour for months and then he won it. It came with a lot of pressure, with a lot of demands from the fans, from our sponsors, from the Danish public, from the media, and now he needed a little break," Niermann said.
"I don’t think there is a problem or that he had a hard time; I think it’s normal that you need a little bit of a mental and physical break."
The six-stage CRO Race begins on 27 September in Osijek, Croatia and runs until 2 October. It will give Vingegaard to find his racing legs again before Italy's Il Lombardia, which is the final Monument and one of the final races of the season. With Queen-stage levels of climbing involved, the 'Race of the Falling Leaves' always proves a happy hunting ground for Grand Tour contenders — indeed Pogacar is the defending champion.
Vingegaard was 14th in the event last year; this time round, having been out of play for so long he'll have fresh legs at least. Whether he can put them to successful use will depend on whether he is also fresh mentally, and is currently training hard.
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After cutting his teeth on local and national newspapers, James began at Cycling Weekly as a sub-editor in 2000 when the current office was literally all fields.
Eventually becoming chief sub-editor, in 2016 he switched to the job of full-time writer, and covers news, racing and features.
A lifelong cyclist and cycling fan, James's racing days (and most of his fitness) are now in the past, although that doesn't stop him banging on tirelessly about "that one time" he nearly rode a 20-minute '10', and planning the big comeback that everyone knows will never actually happen.
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