Now I'm ready for a doner kebab, says euphoric Tour de France winner Jonas Vingegaard

The Dane seals second victory atop the Markstein on stage 20

Jonas Vingegaard after stage 20 of the 2023 Tour de France
(Image credit: Jean Catuffe / Getty)

Tour de France winner Jonas Vingegaard will be tucking into a kebab as a matter of urgency when he arrives home in Jutland, he said on Saturday evening after finishing the last mountain stage of the race in the yellow jersey.

The Jumbo-Visma rider finished third on stage 20 behind last-chance-saloon stage winner Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) and Felix Gall (Ag2r-Citroën) in a sprint to the top of the Markstein mountain in the Vosges. It means that, barring disaster, he has won the Tour de France.

Asked what he would do when he got home, the Dane laughed, “eat a durum” – which is a kebab filled with doner meat for any non-connoisseurs. Vingegaard, speaking post-race at the top of the Markstein. He was clearly in a relaxed mood and clearly eager to knock the monk-like existence of a top-level Tour de France rider on the head, if only for one meal.

“We all have to make a lot of sacrifices,” he said. “For me this year I will be away form my family for more than 150 days. When you do this, it also gives you confidence, because I know the training you do, when you follow the training, the nutrition, going to training camps, I know I will be on my top level.”

Vingegaard also talked about his rivalry with Tadej Pogačar, which burned brightly for 15 stages, before the Dane delivered an eye-opening coup de grace in the uphill time trial to Combloux, which was followed by complete physical collapse the following day to Courchevel.

“This year, it has been an incredible fight between me and Tadej,” said Vingegaard. “It’s been an incredible job to crack him. Thankfully I turned out to be the winner and I’m super happy about it.”

The Danish fans who have been cheering on the 26-year-old’s achievements include Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, who had called the maillot jaune shortly before the press spoke to him.

“He called me just after the finish line, he called my wife Trine,” said Vingegaard. “He just said big congrats and it’s really impressive to win it two times. He’s really impressed how I handled everything and he’s really happy of course.”

The Jumbo-Visma rider has also shown this year how he is more able than ever to handle the pressure that comes with being the number one favourite for the Tour, something that winning by seven minutes comprehensively proved.

"Two years ago was my first Tour, the Dane said. "The first year I started to deliver results. Not that I wasn’t a good bike rider before, but before I just couldn’t hold the pressure. Mostly that I put on myself. 

"But I learned how to handle this, and form that moment, I started winning, getting on the podium. You gain more and more confidence, within yourself, within the media."

It has been an almost flawless performance, something he said was down to a perfect buildup.

"Last year I had a lot of injuries and sickness in the spring, and this year I didn’t have anything which makes a big difference," Vingegaard said. "I’m developing and getting better and better. It’s not like I improve 20% in a year. I’ve got slightly better, it’s not like I’m way better than last year."

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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 behind him. But he still rides regularly, both on the road and on the gravelly stuff.