Jonas Vingegaard said he had one of his best days ever on a bike in today’s Tour de France time trial to take what looks likely to prove a decisive advantage in the battle for the yellow jersey.
The Dane, who beat his key rival Tadej Pogačar by 1-38 to take a firm grip of the yellow jersey, said even he was surprised at the result.
Vingegaard said: “It was one of my best days on the bike ever. I think at one point I started doubting my power metre because it was showing so high a number. We prepared for this so long and we knew I was in really good shape and all the hard work paid off today.”
He later clarified that he had intended to take it easy on the middle flat section of the course that ran between Passy and Combloux. He said he had intended to ride at 360w but ended up pushing closer to 380w because he felt so good.
The performance was especially impressive considering Vingegaard may have been surrendering some aerodynamic gains, crucial to fast speeds in a time trial, because of his posture. Asked if the distinctive hump in his back was part of some equipment he said: “I had an ice bag on my neck but I didn’t have anything on my back.
“Maybe I need to work on my posture... I think actually the more straight you can be with your back the faster it is.”
Asked why the time trial was so decisive when he and Pogačar could not be separated in the previous 15 road stages he said: “I have no explanation why that is. I am just doing my best, luckily that was enough to make a big gap. I’m super happy that I performed today.”
Vingegaard opted not to get time checks on his Pogačar on the radio from his sports director in the car behind and so didn’t know for sure how much he was gaining during the race. However, he said: “I can see on the screens that I was one minute in front but I was surprised I was that far in front. It also gave me motivation that at one point I started seeing the car and that gives you more motivation.”
The Jumbo-Visma captain now has control of the race with a lead of 1-48 over his rival in the GC at UAE Emirates.
But he said he had no idea if that would change his tactics, which until this point have been mostly to use his super-strong team to grind his rivals into submission. They may have raced the decisive kilometers but there are still many more to go.
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