Seemingly from nowhere, Jonas Vingegaard has risen to the pinnacle of world cycling, taking the yellow jersey in the most recent Tour de France.
If you’ve been living under a rock for the past two years, you might not have even heard of Jonas Vingegaard. Having entered his first Grand Tour in 2020, he has already taken the yellow jersey in the most prestigious road race of all, the Tour de France.
Winning his first Tour at just 25, it remains to be seen what the future holds for Jonas Vingegaard – but if his first two Tours are anything to go off, it definitely looks bright.
How has he managed such a steep climb to the top? And can he sustain the lofty heights of his recent achievements in the years to come?
To get you up to speed, we’ll be covering:
- Profile Of A Tour De France Champion
- Jonas Vingegaard’s Rise To The Top
- Jonas Vingegaard’s Tour De France Success
- The Future Of Jonas Vingegaard
Ready for the lowdown on the Tour de France champion?
Let’s get started!
Profile of a Tour De France Champion
Jonas Vingegaard has risen to unbelievable heights in his (so-far) short career, with a yellow jersey and a second-place finish in his first two Tours de France.
In the most recent Tour de France, he beat overwhelming favorite and defending champion Tadej Pogačar by almost 3 minutes. Not only that, but he also took the “King of the Mountains” polka-dot jersey, showcasing his incredible climbing skills on the toughest stage of them all.
Weighing in at just 60 kg with a height of 5 ft 9, his fairly small stature might explain his aptitude for brutal Alpine climbs.
Clearly, though, he’s not just an out-and-out climber, he’s also an excellent time-trialist, finishing 7th and 2nd in the two individual time-trial stages of the 2022 Tour de France.
These two skills arguably encapsulate the essence of a GC rider in the Tour de France.
The Tour is often won or lost in the mountains, but if you’re going to compete with the likes of Pogačar, you need to be able to hold your own on every stage, the flat and mountainous, alone or with your teammates.
Signing for Jumbo-Visma in 2019 at the age of 22, he is now an integral part of their extremely impressive team. Riding with the likes of the multi-disciplinary Wout Van Aert and Vuelta veteran Primož Roglič.
He was chosen as their Tour de France GC rider from the get-go in 2022 and signed a new deal with the team lasting until the end of 2024 after his impressive performance in the 2021 Tour.
Winning the Tour didn’t just bring him fame, it also brought fortune. He received a whopping €500,000 for winning the yellow jersey in 2022, plus a number of other pay-outs for more minor achievements in this year’s Tour (a cool €25,000 for the polka-dot jersey stands out).
Jonas Vingegaard’s Rise To The Top
Given his incredible success in recent years, it begs the question, how did he manage to climb to the pinnacle of world cycling in such a short time?
Interestingly, he actually has rather humble roots. Signing for his first professional team, Danish outfit ColoQuick–Cult, at the (relatively late) age of 19 in 2016, he actually had to subsidize his work as a professional cyclist by working another job.
He worked at a fish factory in Hanstholm, from 6 am every weekday, allowing him to train in the afternoons and join his team on the weekends.
This was his daily life for nearly a year, before achieving his first major result in professional cycling, finishing 2nd overall in the Tour of China 2016.
On the back of his recent success, Vingegaard was keen to get going and showcase his abilities in the 2017 season. He got off to a good start, too, finishing 4th and winning the young rider classification in the Tour du Loir-et-Cher.
However, it was unfortunately cut short by an accident during the Tour des Fjords, breaking his femur in a crash that would see him sit out the rest of the 2017 season. He had a decent season in 2018, winning a series of more minor accolades.
After what seemed a somewhat bumpy start to his senior career, it must have come as a surprise to him when he was suddenly signed by cycling giants Jumbo-Visma in 2019. They saw his potential, and their investment clearly paid off.
He got off to a good start, winning a stage in the Tour de Pologne and finishing second in his local Danmark Rundt.
It was, however, still a risk for Jumbo-Visma to enter him in the Vuelta a España in 2020. This was his very first grand tour, and he was chosen to ride as a domestique for Primož Roglič.
It proved another well-calculated risk, however, as Roglič went on to take his first of three consecutive red jerseys in the Vuelta. A rather successful maiden Grand Tour for a young domestique.
Jonas Vingegaard’s Tour De France Success
Tour de France 2021
After his success in the Vuelta in 2020, Jonas Vingegaard was entered into his first Tour de France in 2021, again riding as a domestique to Primož Roglič, a GC favorite after winning the red jersey in the Vuelta.
Roglič, unfortunately, suffered a heavy crash in the third stage, which resulted in large losses in the GC. Although he did manage to get back on the bike afterward, he struggled to find his way back into the top ten. After losing over 30 minutes on the first Alpine mountain stage, he understandably dropped out of the race.
This left a bit of a gap in the Jumbo-Visma team. Having lost their GC rider, Vingegaard stepped up. He slowly made his way up the leaderboard and stood at 5th place after Roglič had dropped out.
In the brutal mountain stages that followed, Vingegaard impressed everyone with his stellar performances.
First in Stage 11, where he attacked the second climb of the day, dropping the yellow jersey Tadej Pogačar, and taking 40 seconds by the top of the climb. Unfortunately for him though, in an exhilarating end to the stage, he was caught by the pursuivants on the descent.
He continued to perform throughout the rest of the Tour, finishing 2nd in two separate stages, both to Tadej Pogačar. He ultimately solidified his 2nd place GC position by finishing 3rd in the final time trial.
He became only the second Danish rider to ever finish on the podium at the Tour de France, and all without a single stage win!
Tour de France 2022
Vingegaard came into the 2022 Tour in excellent form. He was the GC rider for Jumbo-Visma, and he’d performed extremely well the year before, finishing 2nd.
This was Vingegaard’s chance to show his talent and take the Tour ahead of the absolute favorite: Tadej Pogačar, who was looking to take his third consecutive yellow jersey.
It started well, too, with Pogačar the only GC rider to take time out of him in the first individual time trial. He exhibited solid performances in the first few stages of the Tour, holding his position and not losing time to GC contenders.
On Stage 5, he almost lost a considerable amount of time due to a mechanical. Luckily for him, a fellow teammate was close by and sacrificed his own bike for Jonas, to avoid a costly time gap. Unluckily for him, it was his 6 ft 4 teammate Nathan Van Hooydonck’s bike, so Vingegaard had to ride out of the saddle until the team car caught him with a replacement.
On Stage 11, Vingegaard attacked on the final climb, the Col du Granon, the highest point in the Tour, with 5km to go.
He managed to drop Pogačar, the current champion, and sustained a relentless speed to take the yellow jersey, his first-ever stage win in the Tour de France, and 2m 51s out of the favorite to win.
In the stages to come, there were a number of attacks by Pogačar, but Vingegaard held his own and defended all of them, keeping the yellow jersey.
On Stage 18, Pogačar suffered a crash just before the final climb, and it seemed the ship had sailed on his chances of winning his third consecutive Tour.
However, Vingegaard showed remarkable sportsmanship by waiting and allowing Pogačar to catch up, instead of attacking and ending Pogačar’s GC hopes.
Going into the final climb, he stayed on the wheel of Sepp Kuss to catch up to teammate Wout van Aert, all the while Pogačar stayed with them.
Once they had reached van Aert, Kuss fell back and Pogačar was beginning to look as if he’d blown his doors.
Noticing the struggle of Pogačar, Vingegaard attacked, dropping Pogačar yet again, winning the stage, and effectively sealing his Tour de France victory.
In the final time trial, he managed an extremely impressive time, finishing 3rd, and his fellow teammate Wout van Aert took the stage win.
He of course held his lead in the final stage, winning his first Tour de France, on only his second entry into the competition.
The Future of Jonas Vingegaard
Now you know all about the Tour de France champion, it’s clear he’s a special talent.
It remains to be seen whether he will be able to hold this standard of riding in the years to come, but considering he’s just 25, it’s likely that he’ll even improve.
Pogačar, just 24, also seems unlikely to slow down. This budding rivalry between the two young riders is likely to continue for years to come. It would not be surprising to see both riders on the podium many times in the future.