Jonas Vingegaard ‘has had it very hard after the Tour’

Jumbo-Visma DS says the Dane has found it difficult to adapt to life post-winning the Tour de France.

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“This ninety-mile-per-hour or hundred-mile-per-hour ride comes to a screeching halt,” Scott Goldman of the University of Michigan says about the psychological and physiological depletion athletes can experience following major milestones.

Most often this occurs in Olympic athletes, who dream and train for years in preparation for a few-day period of competition. Whether or not they come away with a medal, the gear-shift can be alienating. Schemes such as retired Olympians attaching the OLY suffix to their names helps to connect them to a community of people who have had similar experiences as well as give them identity within society.

All athletes can go through similar adversity, including cyclists. Dreams of Grand Tour victories inspire budding youth riders to turn pro and will occupy their thoughts during countless hours and pedal strokes in training.

But what could possibly prepare you for cycling’s biggest prize of the yellow jersey? It changes your life forever. No longer are you just a cyclist, or even a professional cyclist. You’re a Tour de France winner.

The most recent Tour victor, Jonas Vingegaard, is a private person. Hailing from the North of Jutland, he prefers to keep the outside world at arm’s length. The most we heard in his winner’s press conference of his life outside the peloton was the reiteration that he’s a family man.

On returning to Denmark, the 25-year-old walked out onto the balcony of Copenhagen City Hall to greet the huge crowds that had gathered to celebrate their champion.

On top of the actual racing, where he defeated none other than Tadej Pogačar, this all takes its toll.

So much so that at the recent Tour of Denmark Vingegaard did not line up for Jumbo-Visma, on what would have been another victory parade around his home nation.

“I understand that the spectators want to see Jonas, and I spoke to him about it yesterday. But he has had it very hard after the Tour,” Frans Maassen told Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet.

“We would have liked to show him off in this race, but we must also understand that it has been hard to win the Tour and with everything that followed. If he had started here, he should have won again, right? It’s not that easy after being under pressure for so long.”

“I am sad that Jonas is not here,” one of Quick-Step AlphaVinyl’s Danes Michael Mørkøv added. “Of course, he has his reasons, but with the status he currently has as Denmark’s biggest sporting name, it would have been a huge boost for the race.

“But we have to take our hats off to him for winning the Tour, and I know that he has invested a lot in it. There is no doubt that he is well cooked now.”

His sports director, compatriot Brian Holm, says it’s impossible to imagine adapting to life post-Tour de France victory.

“I think he has had his share of post-traumatic stress from having so many people around him from morning to night. It’s harder than most people think,” the former rider explained.

“This is perhaps what enables him to win the Tour again – that he learns to speak up. I know several people who have a terrible year after such a win because they haven’t got their heads together. As a professional cyclist, there are many opt-outs. And it hurts to make people angry and disappointed. I fully understand him not riding.”

Vingegaard will not line up for the World Championships in Wollongong but will instead aim to cap off his season at the autumn Monument Il Lombardia, before going on to a Tour de France criterium in Singapore alongside Mark Cavendish and 30 other Tour stars.

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