Visma confident in Vingegaard as their primary contender for 2024 Tour de France victory


Visma-Lease a Bike has yet to confirm whether Jonas Vingegaard will return for this year’s Tour de France following his serious crash at Itzulia Basque Country, where he sustained a broken collarbone, ribs, and a collapsed lung in April. The team remains optimistic, with the Dane making positive steps in recent weeks. He has returned to outdoor riding, tackled hillier Spanish terrain, and is now training at altitude in Tignes.

However, Vingegaard’s chances of defending his yellow jersey remain uncertain. Visma-Lease a Bike does not want to send him unless he is fully fit. Despite the uncertainty, the team spirit is high, with Matteo Jorgenson and Sepp Kuss stepping up at the Critérium du Dauphiné in an attempt to continue the team’s winning streak.

Visma-Lease a Bike’s Backup Plans

Grischa Niermann, Visma DS, conveyed the team’s hopefulness: “The morale is good. We are hopeful that Jonas will be fit in four weeks’ time, but there is no news on that,” he told CyclingNews after the opening stage in Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule. “We cannot predict it yet, but nevertheless, we are a very strong team and even without Jonas, we will be able to do a really good Tour de France.”

Niermann’s primary hope is still for Vingegaard to compete and challenge Tadej Pogačar, who is aiming to complete the Giro-Tour double for the first time since 1998. However, he mentioned, “The confidence is in Jonas, and Jonas is the guy that can win the race. If he cannot ride, then we have to make new plans, and that could include Sepp and Matteo.”

Sepp Kuss and Matteo Jorgenson have shown promising form, with Kuss recently winning the Vuelta a España and Jorgenson achieving new heights in 2024, including an overall win at Paris-Nice and success at Dwars door Vlaanderen. Despite Niermann not wanting to pressure the duo, their preparation for the Tour de France is solid, having completed a long altitude camp before the Dauphiné.

Stage 1 of the Critérium du Dauphiné marked the first time the American duo rode together in their yellow jerseys. Jorgenson, who focused on Classics earlier in the season, expressed excitement: “I was just roommates with Sepp for a few weeks at Sierra altitude camp, and it’s really nice having an American in the team. Being here together both going for GC is pretty cool. It’s a privilege; I have to pinch myself.”

Jorgenson did not feel the pressure of co-leading the team in Vingegaard’s absence but acknowledged the difficulty of the challenge: “No, actually, I think having Sepp here with me, we can kind of share the load a bit and I don’t feel so much pressure. I just want to do my best. It will be difficult anyway; it was difficult at Paris-Nice. I think it is a nice course, but the weekend will be a big challenge in the last 3 days.”

The American was referring to the trio of summit finishes that will decide the overall winner: Collet d’Allevard (11.2km at 8.1%), Samoëns 1600 (10km at 9.3%), and Plateau des Glières (9.4km at 7.1%), which will set apart those in the best shape ahead of the Tour.


Future Prospects and Training Adjustments

Kuss remained calm at the start of the day, finishing his media duties just before the stage began. He was aware that the sprint day wasn’t his focus and that the gap between the Dauphiné and the Tour allows for final adjustments in training. “You can’t come into the Dauphiné not in good shape, but it’s a good race to get a feel for the kind of racing you’ll have in the Tour and still have time afterwards to adjust the training,” Kuss told FloBikes.

He added, “It’s an important race for sure. I haven’t raced in a while, but I think I feel pretty good. Of course, there’s a long time trial, but there are also some hard mountain stages, so we’ll just see how it goes each day, and I’m looking forward to the weekend in particular.”

Jorgenson and Kuss have different strengths, with Jorgenson favouring time trials and early hilltop finishes, while Kuss excels in the steep summit finishes. Jorgenson is eager to see how they perform: “I think Sepp and I have really different characteristics. He’s really suited to that weekend, and I’m more suited to the TT and the first couple of hilltop finishes, so I’m just looking forward to giving it a go and seeing where we end up.”