With the Tour De France coming to its conclusion, it is likely that Jonas Vingegaard will win it for the first time. He finished second to Tadej Pogacar who has won the previous two tours. Traditionally, unless the margin at the top is only a few seconds, the rider who is in front is not attacked. This is going to be Vingegaard’s first tour win.
He made a decisive move on stage two which gave him a two-minute lead. Then on the final stage in the Alps, Vingegaard stretched his lead thanks to a huge effort by his team. Finally, he extended his lead again in the individual time trial where he finished second to his teammate.
Jonas Vingegaard will become just the second Danish rider to win the Tour de France when he rides up the Champs-Elysees after a gruelling race which started in his native Denmark https://t.co/TbppEb4M6m#AFPSports
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) July 23, 2022
While Pogacar has been strong in this tour, he has not been his dominant best. He has won three stages but he has not been able to shake Vingegaard. The Danish rider has shadowed the pre-race favorite the entire way. That is, except when he has been ahead of him.
What was the moment that will define Jonas Vingegaard’s career?
It was in the final stage of the Alps, the one where Vingegaard extended his lead. He and Pogacar had been together on the road up the first two climbs of the day. Then, descending after the second climb, Pogacar fell. It was not a hard fall but it was one that Vingegaard could have pressed his advantage. He could have seen that Pogacar was disadvantaged and pressed home his advantage.
Instead, what did Vingegaard do? He sat up and waited for the rider who beat him last year. He decided that taking advantage of the bad luck of a competitor was not the way he wanted to be remembered. Had he kept going, the story would have been that Vingegaard had taken advantage of his opponent’s mistake.
An incredible act of sportsmanship ❤️️
After @TamauPogi crashes on the final descent of Stage 18, Jonas Vingegaard waits for his rival to catch up and the duo exchange a handshake before the final summit finish of the 2022 Tour de France 🤝
🇫🇷 #TDF2022 pic.twitter.com/11LH1zWBi0
— Velon CC (@VelonCC) July 21, 2022
Instead, he sat up and beat Pogacar up the next climb. The Slovenian rider congratulated Vingegaard, saying that he was the better rider on the day. He also said that the fall had nothing to do with why he lost. It is these moments in sport, in the heat of the battle which can define people’s legacy.
There is not a single person who would have thought less of Vingegaard if he had pressed on. Now, the cycling community and anyone in the wider community who saw the act this higher of him. Jonas Vingegaard is a deserved winner of the hardest event in the world.
For a sport that has had issues with its image over the years, this is incredible. We all get to leave this event feeling good about the future of cycling.