equipment, preparation, arrangements… What rational explanations after Jonas Vingegaard’s stratospheric time trial?

Danish rider Jumbo-Visma’s impressive victory at Combloux on Tuesday revived suspicions about the car, but the reasons may explain, at least in part, the difference between the Dane and the rest of the field.

“Comments, analyses, speculations, there will certainly be some.” Marc Madiot has known others. The sporting director of Groupama-FDJ experienced the dark years of cycling within the group, then as leader. The years of the EPO, of Festina, of Lance Armstrong, up to the Aderlass scandal, doping has too often marked cycling. To the point of resurrecting doubts, in this sport indelibly tainted with cheating, when Jonas Vingegaard swallowed up Tuesday’s time trial between Passy and Combloux (Haute-Savoie) at high speed.

>> Tour de France 2023: why Vingegaard and Pogacar’s performances are exceptional

The leader of the Tour de France attached 1’38” to his main opponent, Tadej Pogacar. Even without having “very good chords” On Tuesday the Slovenian beat the rest of the field, from climbers to time trial specialists. Too far, though, to reach a Jonas Vingegaard on another galaxy. How did the Dane manage to reach such heights then, a question Tour boss Christian Prudhomme also considers “not illegitimate” ?

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The technical progress of cycling

This is the new sinew of warfare, as well as knowing how to unearth talent. Cycling is experiencing an era of technological development as it has rarely experienced before. More efficient equipment, work done tenfold on food or sleep… Many areas that are almost imperceptible once the race begins, but dominated by the Jumbo-Visma formation of Jonas Vingegaard, it is true. “All these marginal gains have to be optimized 110% compared to the Jumbo-Vismaexplains Julien Jurdie, sporting director of AG2R-Citroën. For example, we’re 1 to 2.5 seconds per kilometer depending on the suit you’re wearing. [jusqu’à 56 secondes rapportées aux 22,4 kilomètres du contre-la-montre]. All teams try to find the best combinations, positions, wheels or helmets… On this, Jumbo-Visma is at the forefront.“However, on this occasion, the Dane was unable to benefit from the technological contribution of his kit, as he was wearing the yellow jersey made by the organization (like Tadej Pogacar, with the white jersey).

For Marc Madiot, this permanent progress is not surprising and causes no problems. “It is in the nature of life and the evolution of the world to try to progress, improve and go better and faster and betterhe says. It’s not specific to cycling, any sport or economic activity, it’s the same thing.“Christian Prudhomme sums it up like this: “Now it’s the soldier monks who are today’s champions, who can’t afford any deviations. That explains part of the superior performance.”

The preparation

Better equipped, Jonas Vingegaard has a first trick up his sleeve. But he is not the only one from Jumbo-Visma to benefit from the same advantages. Wout van Aert, one of the most powerful riders in the world and one of the best time trial riders, finished third today but 2’51” behind his teammate. The Dane made the difference above all for his preparation for this time trial.

“Vingegaard’s images during the descent were simply amazinghallucinates Julien Jurdie. The risk-taking, the aggression with the yellow jersey on the back… It was pinpoint in all the corners. With this preparation, because I imagine he has recognized this time and this descent several times, I think that Felix Gall, who is setting a super time (13th, at 3’40”) takes thirty to fifty seconds just on the descent. Stronger on the final mountain stage before the rest day, Jonas Vingegaard confirmed his form and power surge on Tuesday.

Exceptional physical abilities

Jonas Vingegaard didn’t come out of nowhere on Tuesday and had already signed top-level performances last year. However, the power he unleashed on the Domancy coast, and also during the preceding kilometers on the plains, bluffed and blew the meters literally, as well as figuratively. Vingegaard thought his hardware was flawed, in the end he just beat the competition.

The Danish Jonas Vingeggard has routed the competition in this only time of the Tour de France.  He closes with 1'38" ahead of his rival Tadej Pogacar and 2'51" on his teammate Wout van Aert.  Overall he has an advantage of 1'48" on Slovenian five days before arriving in Paris.

“It was maybe in the day of his life, where he didn’t feel the pedals”, predicts Julien Jurdie. “When great guys have great days, it gives something like this”, adds its rider, Aurélien Paret-Peintre. “Physiologically Vingegaard or Pogacar are out of the ordinary compared to the whole group, as we find in other sportscontinues Julien Jurdie. Johannes Boe dominated the biathlon season, even with crazy gaps.”

“Apparently he’s very strongPatrick Lefévère, the manager of Soudal-Quick-Step, reacts laconically. I always heard it had a very big engine. I think it’s even bigger than we thought. There are machines that make three litres, three and a half litres. He’s a V12. Pogacar also has a very large engine, but it’s not as aerodynamic. At the speeds we’re reaching today, that plays a role.” Its rider Rémi Cavagna, French time trial champion and 6th on Tuesday, also recalls how faithful the mountainous profile of the 22.4 kilometers was to the qualities of the yellow jersey. “On difficult tracks like this, I know that non-climbers like me can lose many seconds. The difference is impressive over thirty-five minutes of effort.”

Interview in Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc by our special envoys Hortense Leblanc and Théo Gicquel

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