JONAS VINEGAARD won the Tour de France – just five years after working as a fishpacker.
The 25-year-old Dane rode to the factory in the morning before getting on his bike to train in the afternoon.
But now he’s a Grand Tour champion – and has written his name in the history books of cycling.
Vingegaard took a surprise second place finish in 2021 but upped the ante this time, essentially securing victory after an epic battle against Tadej Pogacar in the mountains.
He finished Sunday’s Champs Elysees ride safely in the field as Belgium’s Jasper Philipsen won the final stage in the sprint ahead of Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen and Norway’s Alexander Kristoff, who finished second and third respectively.
Vingegaard laid the groundwork for his stage ten win when he and teammate Primoz Roglic charged relentlessly at Pogacar, crushing him on the climb to the Col du Granon.
Pogacar kept hitting back, but Vingegaard and his Jumbo Visma team held off the feisty Slovenian, with the new champion sealing victory as he clinched another win on the final mountain stage at Hautacam.
Overall, Vingegaard, who took the spotlight last year, finished two minutes and 43 seconds ahead of Pogacar according to provisional times and also won the polka dot jersey for the mountains classification.
Geraint Thomas, the 2018 champion, finished 7:22 back in a distant third overall in a race that took place under the cloud of Covid-19, which saw 17 riders retire after contracting the virus.
Vingegaard’s Jumbo Visma team dominated the Tour, winning six of the 21 stages and protecting the Dane throughout, particularly in a moment of panic when he suffered a mechanical problem on the cobblestone stage in the opening week.
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The Dutch team led the way into the Champs Elysees on Sunday but stayed on the home stretch at the end of the peloton as Vingegaard and his teammates savored the moment after some fans clashed with eco-protesters trying to disrupt the driving.
Soft-spoken Vingegaard, who joined Jumbo-Visma in 2019, has long struggled with anxiety, which cost him several races.
But with the help of his friend Trine Hansen and his team, he began to better control his nerves, and his newfound composure was key to his progress.
Vingegaard is the first Dane to win the Tour since Bjarne Riis, who retained his 1996 title despite later admitting doping.
In 2007, another Dane, Michael Rasmussen, was knocked out of the race while wearing the yellow jersey when his team canceled his contract after discovering he had lied about where he trained.
France fans were still waiting for a first home title since Bernard Hinault in 1985, although David Gaudu ended up finishing a decent fourth overall.
Jonas Vingegaard wins the Tour de France just five years after the 25-year-old Dane worked as a fish packer in a factory