The Washington Post

Vingegaard’s climb ends with first title

- BY SAMUEL PETREQUIN

King of the mountains. Champion on the Champs-élysées.

Jonas Vingegaard blossomed from a talented rookie to a dominant leader over three weeks of epic racing to win his first Tour de France title Sunday in Paris.

The former fish factory worker from Denmark dethroned defending champion Tadej Pogacar with memorable performanc­es in the mountains.

The official overall margin of victory was 2 minutes 43 seconds, but Vingegaard slowed down toward the end of the stage to celebrate with teammates, crossing well after Pogacar. Geraint Thomas, the 2018 Tour champion, was 7:22 off the pace in third.

Vingegaard, 25, who was runner-up to Pogacar in his first Tour last year, excelled in the scorching heat that enveloped France this month and came out on top of a thrilling duel with Pogacar.

Three weeks ago in Copenhagen, the Jumbo-visma team started the race with two leaders — Vingegaard and three-time Spanish Vuelta winner Primoz Roglic. But Roglic suffered a dislocated shoulder and lost more than two minutes to Pogacar on the cobbled fifth stage, leaving Vingegaard in a sole leader’s role.

Vingegaard exceeded expectatio­ns from that moment.

He made his intentions clear in the first big mountain stage up the Col du Granon to seize the race leader’s yellow jersey from Pogacar, who fell more than two minutes behind. Having claimed the famed tunic during a stage featuring three monster Alpine climbs, Vingegaard kept it until the end.

With the help of his teammates, including the versatile Wout van Aert, Vingegaard responded to the relentless attacks launched by Pogacar day in, day out. His supremacy in the mountains was such that Vingegaard also claimed the jersey for king of the mountains — not bad for a rider who comes from a country whose highest point is barely 170 meters above sea level.

“The battle between me and Jonas for the yellow jersey has been very special,” Pogacar said. “I think we have some very interestin­g next two or three years ahead of us. Jonas has stepped up his game this year.”

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