'They’ve been playing the victim but we don’t really buy into this': Tadej Pogačar's team raise war of words with Jonas Vingegaard

It's the Tour of Mind Games and Tadej Pogačar's UAE-Team Emirates are on the back foot

Tadej Pogacar
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The gloves are not quite off, but punches are being thrown with increasing frequency at the Tour de France. The defending champion, Jonas Vingegaard (Visma-Lease a Bike), declared his position at the start of the race: three months on from his horror crash, he was “lucky to be here”, and when he lost time on stage four, it was classified as a positive result – “I expected to be 3-0 down,” he remarked. 

References to his several broken bones and six weeks of preparation have been constant utterances from the usually shy Dane in the first race’s first-half, a slow indoctrination to ensure that the narrative is on his recovery, and to place the pressure firmly at the cleats of his great challenger, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates). The man who’s won the last two Tours, goes the message, is the underdog. Indeed, UAE have been nodding along in agreement; the messaging has cut through.

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Chris Marshall-Bell

A freelance sports journalist and podcaster, you'll mostly find Chris's byline attached to news scoops, profile interviews and long reads across a variety of different publications. He has been writing regularly for Cycling Weekly since 2013. In 2024 he released a seven-part podcast documentary, Ghost in the Machine, about motor doping in cycling.

Previously a ski, hiking and cycling guide in the Canadian Rockies and Spanish Pyrenees, he almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains. He lives in Valencia, Spain.