[Jonas Vingegaard says ‘I am not taking anything’ after climbing speeds questioned
Jonas Vingegaard has said that fans can believe his performances as he heads into into the third week of the Tour de France still with a slender grip on the yellow jersey.
The reigning champion and his adversary Tadej Pogačar slugged it out on the climb to Saint Gervais-Mont Blanc on stage 15 won by Wout Poels, but the fascinating battle produced no time differences with the best two riders on GC crossing the line together.
In the past few years the pair have broken several climbing records and many commentators are already saying that their duel is on its way to becoming one of the sport’s best.
Asked after the theatrics on stage 15 whether some fans are right to be doubtful given the history of doping within the sport, Vingegaard replied: “To be honest, I fully understand the scepticism. We have to be sceptical because of what happened in the past. Otherwise [if people weren’t] it would just happen again.
“In that way I fully understand all the questions we get about it. The only thing I can say is that I am not taking anything, but to be honest I am happy there is a bit of scepticism about it.
“We are going faster, quicker, maybe even quicker than back then. I think it’s a good thing.”
Vingegaard, who responded just as maturely when asked a similar question at the end of the 2022 Tour, added that the reason why times are faster than ever is because of technological and scientific advancements. “The food, the material, the training, everything is different,” he said.
“Once again, it’s always good to be sceptical about it, or to at least think about it.”
With regards to the racing, Vingegaard seemed more upbeat and more confident after a weekend in the Alps where he gained one second on his arch rival.
“I’m always confident in myself, I believed in our plan, we still do and we still look forward to next week as well,” he said.
“I felt good today. I don’t know if I was thinking about attacking, but we were playing a bit.”
The race resumes on Tuesday with a 22.4km time trial that finishes with an ascent. Both Jumbo-Visma and UAE-Team Emirates are backing their own riders to win, but Vingegaard doesn’t buy into the argument that the biggest time gaps will be made in the race against the clock.
“The time trial and also the day after, as well as stage 20 will be very decisive,” he said. “It could turn out to be one of those real decisive stages. We will just have to see. I will do my best and then we will see in Paris.”