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CALAIS, France (VN) – Jumbo-Visma may have strongarmed the race to set up Wout van Aert into Calais on stage 4 of the 2022 Tour de France, but behind, Jonas Vingegaard was the better placed of the team’s two leaders for the race.
The Dane, who finished runner-up last year, stayed on the wheel of Van Aert until the final few hundred meters of the Cap Blanc-Nez.
Adam Yates was the last man standing with him, with Roglič in the next group, 50 or so meters back. The Jumbo-Visma management asked Vingegaard over race radio to not ride with Yates.
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Perhaps Vingegaard’s showing will prove insignificant in the whole scheme of things, perhaps it was a tiny, telling hint of who is stronger.
Vingegaard: Roglič will be happy if I win
Hours before in Calais, Vingegaard responded to a question about the rivalry between Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome, in reference to their one-two 2012 Tour performance which had a fair bit of internal rivalry: is that something that could happen to him and Roglič?
“No, it cannot happen. Primož and I are good friends, and that is also different. When they were rivals, they were the two strongest and now it’s not [the case], the big favorite is Pogačar,” Vingegaard said. “I’ll be happy if Primož wins, and he will be happy if I win.”
Asked whether his strength in the team adds pressure or helps Roglič, Vingegaard responded: “That I don’t know. I think you’ll have to ask him.”
As the race came back together into Calais, the status quo remains ahead of stage 5 over the cobbles – there is less than a second between Vingegaard and Roglič in the general classification.
The Dane sits sixth overall, 40 seconds down on his Belgian team-mate Van Aert.
Having the two on-song and racing harmoniously in tandem could prove an effective pitchfork tactic against reigning champion Pogacar in the mountains – or there could yet be trouble and tension behind the scenes ahead.
Meanwhile, the 25-year-old has fond memories from the grand départ in Copenhagen. He was the toast of his home country, welling up with tears at the raucous reaction given to him by fans at the team presentation.
“The start in Denmark gave me motivation and confidence for the rest of the Tour. I got a lot of attention, of course, but I enjoyed it. Now we are in France and I’m looking forward to it,” he said.
Vingegaard has never raced Paris-Roubaix or a Tour stage over the northern cobblestone and he was wary ahead of the 157 kilometers between Lille and Arenberg-Porte du Hainaut.
“A lot of things can happen. We have to be careful and not lose any time.”