Back Discover more Shimano

It was a Tour de France for the ages. By the end, nobody could be surprised at the victory of Jonas Vingegaard.  

The Dane showed sangfroid and strength, consigning Tadej Pogačar to second place. Every great champion needs a great rival, and theirs was an immense fight.

Jumbo-Visma were the dominant team, with six stage wins and two of the race’s strongest riders. Nobody was more versatile or prominent over the 21 stages than Wout van Aert. The emphatic green jersey winner won a long time trial, a bunch sprint and attacked in numerous breakaways.

Here’s a look at how Vingegaard won a breathless Tour de France and at the glory of other prominent peloton peers.

Stage 1 and 2

On a rainy time trial around Copenhagen that had riders’ nerves jangling, trust a Flandrian to be in his element. Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl’s ace Yves Lampaert had the power, speed and control on the 13.2km course.

 

His victory might have been a surprise against more fancied names, but it was a delight for those who love a modest strongman getting his dues.

 

There was double delight for his team on stage two. In Nyborg, sprinter Fabio Jakobsen finished off his team’s effort, capping two years of tireless work since his life-threatening crash at the Tour of Poland. 

 

Within the race’s first three days, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl’s race was a success.

Tour de France
Tour de France
Tour de France
Tour de France
Tour de France
Tour de France
Tour de France

Stage 4 and 8

Wout van Aert was everywhere in the first week. Second in the time trial, second in the first two bunch sprints, pulling on the yellow jersey in the process.

 

All that was missing was a win, and it came in impressive fashion on the road to Calais on day four. Jumbo-Visma delivered a display of team tactics, hitting the front and riding full gas into the final steep climb, ten kilometers from the finish.

 

Van Aert finished off the job with a solo ride to the finish, making the impossible look casual. Four days later, he was victorious again, in the green jersey this time, from a small bunch sprint on a steep hill in Lausanne. 

 

It was just the beginning of a Tour where all-rounder Van Aert stood out every single day.

Tour de France
Tour de France
Tour de France
Tour de France
Tour de France
Tour de France

Stage 11

It looked like the Tour might be going the way of Tadej Pogačar again, given his advantage in the opening time trial, his ease over the cobbles, and his two stage wins in the opening week.

 

Thirty-nine seconds separated the yellow jersey and Jonas Vingegaard. On stage 11, Jumbo-Visma deployed their plan on the queen stage between Albertville and Col du Granon. 

 

They attacked again and again on the Col du Galibier with their dynamite Dane and Primož Roglič, forcing their isolated rival to chase.

 

It ate into his energy and his resilience. On the brutal final climb, with five kilometers left, Vingegaard accelerated and Pogačar had no answer. Hunger and focus in his gaze, DURA-ACE C36 wheels on his bike, Vingegaard increased the gap with every pedal stroke.

 

This was the mind-blowing move which won the Tour. By the finish, he put almost three minutes into his rival. He pulled on the yellow jersey and exploded the Slovenian’s aura of invincibility in one memorable stage.

Tour de France
Tour de France
Tour de France
Tour de France
Tour de France

Stage 12

We’re used to races being won up mountains, but how about down them? Tom Pidcock provided a descending masterclass, attacking over the Galibier. Taking the corners with speed and fluidity, he bridged across to the day’s breakaway. It would prove crucial.

 

Slotting into the breakaway group alongside four-time champion Chris Froome, the Ineos Grenadier got the better of his breakaway colleagues on his Tour debut.

 

He’s already an Olympic mountain biking champion, a cyclo-cross star and a Brabantse Pijl victor. Now, the 22-year-old is the youngest ever Tour stage winner on the famous, crowd-filled Alpe d’Huez.

 

A big win for Ineos Grenadiers, and surely not the last for a big British talent stukk starting out his career.

Tour de France
Tour de France
Tour de France
Tour de France
Tour de France

Stage 15 and 21

In a Tour de France low on opportunities for bunch sprinters, the fast men had to keep calm and carry on through tough stages in the Vosges, Alps and Massif Central.

 

Good things come to those who wait. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) took his first Tour de France stage win the hard way.

 

It was on a cauldron of a stage between Rodez and Carcassonne, barely a metre of flat on the route raced in 40-degree temperatures.

 

The breakaway was only swept up 500 meters from the finish, before Philipsen got the better of Wout van Aert. Cool, calm and very fast.

 

The Belgian added a second in a more conventional sprint scenario. On the Champs-Élysées, as the sun went down in Paris and the Tour, he finished bike lengths ahead of closest challenger Dylan Groenwegen.

Tour de France
Tour de France
Tour de France
Tour de France

Stage 18

Ever since losing the race lead, Pogačar kept his promise to keep attacking Jonas Vingegaard. Uphill, down dale, even on the flat with 180 kilometers to go. He had over two minutes to make up.

 

The Dane and his team proved equal to every move. It came down to the last mountain stage, finishing at Hautacam.

 

The Slovenian heaped the pressure on, accelerating in front. It culminated in a technical Col de Spandelles descent before the final climb where Vingegaard grounded his pedal and nearly crashed. A few minutes later, Pogačar overshot a corner, fell – and the yellow jersey waited for him, sportingly. 

 

The pair shook hands in a beautiful moment. Hostilities resumed on the climb to Hautacam, where Vingegaard removed any doubt. He all but won the Tour by attacking and putting over a minute into his adversary for his second stage victory.

Tour de France
Tour de France

Stage 19

The French were facing a first Tour de France without a stage win in their home race until Christophe Laporte saved their blushes with an opportunistic triumph in Cahors.

 

He took advantage of a moment’s hesitation in the final kilometer to jump to the dying breakaway leaders. Then, he accelerated again on a rise 400 meters for the finish for solo glory.

 

Just desserts for the classy Jumbo-Visma domestique, who had given everything for Vingegaard and Van Aert during the race.

Tour de France

Stage 20

We thought Wout van Aert had exhausted superlatives, not to mention himself, during a race where he was regularly on the attack, chased hard for Jonas Vingegaard and won bunch sprints.

 

He had one more arrow left in his quiver for the 40.7km time trial to Lacapelle-Marival and Rocamadour. He set the fastest time, beating world champion Filippo Ganna no less, and resigned flying teammate Vingegaard to second place.

 

Win number six of the race for Jumbo-Visma and tears at the finish line for cycling’s Mr. Versatility.

Insert text here...

Tour de France
Tour de France

The stars of the GC

It was a poetic conclusion in Paris, a Dane taking victory after a race that started in Copenhagen. Jonas Vingegaard was coolness personified, showing his mental and physical strength. He also had the King of the Mountains jersey to enjoy, proof of his pedigree as the race’s best climber.

 

Pogačar and Geraint Thomas joined him on the final podium in second and third. The 36-year-old Ineos Grenadier put in a classy performance, showing his experience as he judged his effort to perfection. From one of the lowest points of his career last year to revitalising his GC hopes. Never discount a Tour champion.

 

There was French joy too, as David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) fought his way to fourth place, the home nation’s highest finish since 2017. 

 

Meanwhile, Aleksandr Vlasov of Bora-hansgrohe and Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic) could be satisfied with fifth and sixth overall after setbacks earlier in their season.

 

It was a topsy-turvy race for Romain Bardet (Team DSM), who had been on the cusp of the podium before being affected by the scorching heat in the Pyrenees. Eighth place was no shame for a man who showed his love of attacking racing and whose preparation was affected by Giro d’Italia illness.

 

Tour de France

Related stories: