By Carlos de Torres
Paris, Jul 24 (EFE).- Denmark’s Jonas Vingegaard – riding for Jumbo Visma – won the Tour de France on Sunday after the 21st and last leg of the iconic cycling race ending on the Champs-Elysees in Paris after the day’s ride of 115.6 kilometers (about 72 miles).
Vingegaard beat last year’s winner – Slovenia’s Tadej Pogacar – by three minutes and 34 seconds. The Dane had come in second in the 2021 event.
Winning the final sprint leg was Belgium’s Jasper Philipsen, riding for Alpecin Fenix, although the overall winner of the 109th edition of the Tour was the Dane.
It was the fastest Tour de France ever run, with an average speed of 42 kph (26 mph).
Philipsen decisively beat out The Netherlands’ Dylan Groenewegn (BikeExchange) and Norway’s Alexander Kristoff (Intermarche) with a final leg time of 2:58:32 and an average speed of 38.8 kph.
Not needing to win the final leg, and holding himself far back in the peloton, was the wearer of the coveted yellow jersey – Vingegaard – surrounded by his team, ecstatic at winning his first Tour.
Vingegaard is the second Dane to win the Tour de France, after the controversial Bjarne Riis – who in 2007 admitted to doping during the mid-1990s, including during the Tour – sped to victory in 1996, although Danish riders won four of this year’s stages.
Joining Vingegaard on the winner’s podium was runner-up Pogacar, riding for UAE-Emirates and the Dane’s main rival, having won the previous two Tours, and in third place 36-year-old Welshmen Geraint Thomas, with Ineos, who won the Tour in 2018 and came in second a year later.
Vingegaard cemented his victory on the mountain legs of the race, wiping out the 23-year-old Pogacar’s hopes of another triumph, although he did win three stages this year and said “My challenge now is to beat Vingegaard.”
“The battle between me and Jonas for the yellow jersey has been very special,” Pogacar said. “I think we have some very interesting next two or three years ahead of us. Jonas has stepped up his game this year.”
Finishing in the top 10 were Frenchman David Gaudu in fourth place, Russia’s Aleksandr Vlasov in fifth, Colombia’s Nairo Quintana in sixth, followed – in order – by Romain Bardet, Louis Meintjes, Alexey Lutsenko and Adam Yates.
Spain didn’t turn in its customary performance in this year’s Tour, however, with none of its nine riders placing in the top 10, although it had managed to get at least one rider into that category every year since 1981. Moreover, Spanish riders could not end their negative streak of going four consecutive Tours without winning a single stage.
Jumbo Visma, as a group, turned in a great performance, with Wout Van Aert, 27, winning three stages and coming in second in four additional race legs, ultimately winning the green jersey, while Pogacar donned the white jersey for the third consecutive year.
Vingegaard also won the mountain jersey for his fabulous performance in both the Alps and the Pyrenees legs.