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Jonas Vingegaard scores O Gran Camiño hat-trick, sets up Paris-Nice showdown with Tadej Pogačar

The Dane won his third straight stage at the Galician four-day race and took the overall title.

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Jonas Vingegaard wrapped up his utter domination of O Gran Camiño at the weekend with a hattrick of stage wins and the overall title.

Vingegaard won every available stage at the Galician race with stage 1, which was canceled 20km before the finish, the only one he didn’t take. The Dane topped his teammate Rohan Dennis by 35 seconds in the final rolling time trial to Santiago de la Compostela on Sunday with the American Will Barta taking third.

The TT win adds to Vingegaard’s two solo efforts in the mountains earlier in the race, where he twice beat Ruben Guerreiro by over 20 seconds. He ultimately win the race by 2:31 over Jesus Herrada, who overhauled Guerreiro in the time trial.

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O Gran Camiño was Vingegaard’s first race of the season after taking an elongated winter break. With less than a handful of WorldTour teams present, it was a chance for the Dane to wind up his racing legs in a less pressurized environment.

“It’s been a great week for us,” Vingegaard said. “It couldn’t have been better. We’ve won three stages and the overall classification, so I’m really happy. I have a strong desire to win, and my shape is good. We can go home happy. It was the ideal lead-up to Paris-Nice.

“O Gran Camiño is a great race. Despite the poor weather, I had a fantastic time here. It’s a cool race with a challenging course.”

Vingegaard’s start to the season almost mirrors that of his main Tour de France rival, Tadej Pogačar. The UAE Team Emirates rider has won on four of his five race days so far this season, with his teammate Tim Wellens winning on the other.

While the competition hasn’t been as tough in Galicia, compared to the Vuelta a Andalucía, Vingegaard’s domination is a good sign heading into his bigger goals of the year.

Pogačar and Vingegaard are due to meet for the first time this season at Paris-Nice, which starts this weekend. The race will give us a window into the comparative form levels of the two GC riders as they build up for the major target of the Tour de France in the summer.

“We were hoping for this result. Jonas showed that he is ready for Paris-Nice. It will be a good test against the rest of the world’s top riders. Jonas was here to fine-tune. That worked out well,” sport director Frans Massen said.

“Even though the weather wasn’t always ideal, it was still a beautiful race to begin the season. When you need to control the race, it’s essential to have seven strong riders with you. We had a good mix of experienced men and young riders. The guys of the development team did a great job and learned a lot.”

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