Jonas Vingegaard wins Tour de France just five years after 25-year-old Dane worked as a fish packer in a factory


JONAS VINGEGAARD won the Tour de France – just five years after working as a fish packer.

The 25-year-old Dane would go to the factory in the morning before hopping on the bike to train in the afternoon.

But now he is a grand tour champion – and etched his name into the cycling history books.

Vingegaard earned a shock second-placed finish in 2021 but went one better this time around, essentially securing the win after an epic battle against Tadej Pogacar in the mountains.

He finished Sunday’s ride to the Champs Elysees safely in the bunch as Belgian Jasper Philipsen won the last stage in a sprint ahead of Dutch Dylan Groenewegen and Norway’s Alexander Kristoff, who were second and third respectively.

Vingegaard laid the foundations of his victory in the tenth stage, when he and his team-mate Primoz Roglic attacked Pogacar relentlessly and made him crack in the climb up to the Col du Granon.

Pogacar hit back time and time again but Vingegaard and his Jumbo-Visma team contained the feisty Slovenian, with the new champion sealing the victory when he claimed another win at Hautacam in the final mountain stage.

Overall, Vingegaard, who rocketed into the limelight last year, finished two minutes and 43 seconds clear of Pogacar, according to provisional timings, and also won the polka-dot jersey for the mountains classification.

Geraint Thomas, the 2018 champion, ended up a distant third overall, 7:22 off the pace, in a race that took place under the cloud of Covid-19, with 17 riders pulling out after contracting the virus.

Vingegaard’s Jumbo-Visma team dominated the Tour, winning six of the 21 stages while protecting the Dane throughout, especially in a moment of panic when he suffered a mechanical issue in the cobbled stage in the opening week.

The Dutch team led the way into the Champs Elysees on Sunday, but they stayed at the back of the peloton in the final straight as Vingegaard and his team-mates enjoyed the moment after some fans clashed with eco-protesters trying to disrupt the riding.

The softly-spoken Vingegaard, who joined Jumbo-Visma in 2019, has struggled with anxiety for a long time, costing him in several races.

But with the help of his girlfriend Trine Hansen and his team, he began to manage his nerves better and his newly-found composure was key in his progression.

Vingegaard is the first Dane to win the Tour since Bjarne Riis, who kept his 1996 title despite later admitting to doping.

In 2007, another Dane, Michael Rasmussen, was kicked out of the race while wearing the yellow jersey when his team terminated his contract after finding out he had lied about his training whereabouts.

French fans were left still waiting for a first home title since Bernard Hinault in 1985, although David Gaudu ended up a decent fourth overall. 

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