Jonas Vingegaard and Wout van Aert face tight deadline to be fit for Tour de France


Jonas Vingegaard and Wout van Aert’s participation in the Tour de France remains in doubt, according to their coaches at Visma-Lease a Bike. In recent interviews, both coaches estimated their chances of making it to the Grand Départ in Florence at about “fifty-fifty”. A spokesperson from Visma-Lease a Bike told Cyclingnews that no decision has yet been made regarding the team’s Tour selection.

Vingegaard suffered a punctured lung, broken ribs, and a broken collarbone in a mass crash at Itzulia Basque Country in April. He spent twelve days in hospital in Vitoria after the incident. The two-time Tour winner returned to training in Denmark in May and was later seen training in Mallorca.

Van Aert’s Classics campaign was cut short by a heavy crash at Dwars door Vlaanderen, leaving him with a fractured sternum, collarbone, and ribs. These injuries ruled him out of a planned Giro d’Italia debut, but he returned to competition at last month’s Tour of Norway.

Both Vingegaard and Van Aert have been training in Tignes over the past week, alongside teammate Christophe Laporte. The remaining members of Visma-Lease a Bike’s Tour pre-selection will join them soon, with Matteo Jorgenson arriving in the French ski resort yesterday, as shown on his Instagram.

Vingegaard’s Progress

Jonas Vingegaard’s coach, Tim Heemskerk, spoke to Danish newspaper BT, stating, “For me, it’s fifty-fifty whether Jonas makes it to the Tour.” Heemskerk had previously said that training with his teammates in Tignes would be crucial for Vingegaard to have any chance of being ready for the Tour. The Dane is currently keeping pace with that schedule, but Heemskerk pointed out that the next fortnight would be decisive.

“He needed to be able to follow the programme if he was to have hopes of being ready for the Tour,” Heemskerk said. “The first week at altitude was adaptation and recovery, and now he’s just had a tough week. And now there will be another one. The important thing will be how he reacts to it. Can he handle it? Will he get tired? The coming week and the one after are essential for the Tour. It’s also important that he gets a feeling of ‘Wow, I feel more and more ready.’”

Wout van Aert

Van Aert’s Situation

Initially, Van Aert was set to miss this year’s Tour to focus on his preparation for the Paris 2024 Olympics. However, his plans changed after the crash that forced him to miss the Giro. The Belgian’s condition appeared to improve during the Tour of Norway, and he has been training in Tignes since June 2, with Vingegaard joining him four days later.

Van Aert’s coach, Mathieu Heijboer, told Het Nieuwsblad that their response to the training load over the next two weeks will be the deciding factor. “We want to get them to the start of the Tour, but they have to be competitive,” Heijboer said. “We will make a decision based on the powers they can achieve over a certain period of time and what their feelings and heart rate are. It is still too early to draw conclusions from their current data. We are still tinkering too much with their basic condition at the moment. The real fine-tuning has still to come.”

Heijboer assessed the prospects of both riders, estimating, “At the moment I estimate for both of them individually that the chance that they will reach the Tour is just over 50%.”

Visma-Lease a Bike’s Position

Speaking to Cyclingnews at last month’s Giro d’Italia, Visma-Lease a Bike manager Richard Plugge confirmed that there was no fixed deadline for a decision on Vingegaard’s Tour participation. The Dane will not race again before the Tour, but Van Aert will participate in the Belgian championships. “We are going to decide very late. There is no ultimatum,” said Heijboer, dismissing the idea that a less than fully fit Vingegaard might ride the Tour to chase stage wins. “As a two-time Tour winner, it seems difficult to us to start with Jonas with a different mindset. Neither Jonas nor Wout would go to the Tour as an emergency solution; they are too good riders for that.”

Visma-Lease a Bike’s injury issues go beyond Vingegaard and Van Aert. Dylan van Baarle and Steven Kruijswijk are both ruled out of the Tour de France after sustaining fractures in a mass crash at the Critérium du Dauphiné. Vuelta a España champion Sepp Kuss abandoned the Dauphiné due to illness, though Matteo Jorgenson impressed to secure second overall. Heijboer suggested that Jorgenson would lead Visma’s GC challenge at the Tour if Vingegaard is ultimately absent.

“If Jonas doesn’t make it, Matteo will fight for the top five, but we don’t want to stop there,” Heijboer said. “We want to leave our mark on the Tour and so other objectives would be added.”

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