Despite being Denmark’s top points scorer at the end of the 2023 road season, securing the country four spots in the men’s road race at the upcoming Paris Olympic Games, Jonas Vingegaard has expressed his reservations about his inclusion in the Danish team for the Games. According to a conversation with the Danish news agency Ritzau, Vingegaard conveyed his understanding that the national coach might opt for other riders given the route’s layout, which doesn’t play to his strengths as a climber.
The Paris Olympics road course, which boasts a 2,800-metre elevation gain, isn’t quite the terrain for Vingegaard, as it is characterised by short, steep ramps across Paris rather than the longer climbs he excels on. He acknowledged the route’s specificity, which seems tailored to riders adept at the Tour of Flanders such as Mathieu van der Poel, Tadej Pogačar, Wout van Aert, and his fellow countryman and former world champion Mads Pedersen, who is expected to spearhead the Danish contingent.
Vingegaard shared his dream of competing in the Olympics but admitted to Ritzau that the Paris route doesn’t particularly favour his riding style. With Denmark’s depth in talent and only four available spots, he recognises that his Olympic participation is far from guaranteed.
Denmark boasts several strong contenders for the Olympic team spots, including Kasper Asgreen, Søren Kragh Andersen, and a battle between Andreas Kron, Magnus Cort, Mikkel Bjerg and Mattias Skjelmose for the remaining place. The course’s Classics style could see Vingegaard, a traditional climber, as the less suitable candidate.
The timing of the Olympics, occurring roughly three weeks after the conclusion of the Tour de France in Nice, is another factor that could influence team selection. This schedule consideration has led Vingegaard to believe his participation in the World Championships in Zürich is more likely, with a course featuring a staggering 4,470 metres of elevation gain that suits his climbing abilities far better.
Although Vingegaard hasn’t had extensive experience in races over 250km, such as the Classics or Ardennes, his capabilities in the mountains suggest he could adapt to the demands of the lengthy World Championships course. He expressed confidence to Ritzau about his potential performance in Switzerland, suggesting that the route might be one of the best he’ll encounter at the Worlds during his career.
Settling in Switzerland, Vingegaard has moved his base for its mountainous terrain and its appropriateness as a training ground for professional cyclists like himself, Demi Vollering, and Mads Pedersen. While Vingegaard’s schedule for the season isn’t yet set in stone, his sights are firmly set on both a third Tour de France title and a strong showing at the World Championships – likely his primary targets given his abilities and the logistical challenges posed by the Olympic schedule.