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Jonas Vingegaard has already won the Tour twice. © ANSA / GUILLAUME HORCAJUELO / POOL

Cycling star Vingegaard: “Thought I was going to die”

Cycling star Jonas Vingegaard was scared to death after his serious fall in April and thought about the end of his career.

"It was so bad that I thought I was going to die," said the Dane on the first rest day of the Tour de France in Orléans. "And as I lay there, I thought that if I survived this, I would give up cycling. But now I'm sitting here."

Vingegaard had a serious fall during a descent in the Tour of the Basque Country on April 4. The Tour defending champion broke a collarbone, several ribs and a finger. The biggest problem, however, was his punctured lung. Vingegaard is currently third in the overall rankings, and after nine of 21 stages he is 1:15 minutes behind the leading Slovenian Tadej Pogacar. He is simply happy to be at this level in the Tour after only one and a half months of preparation.

Thoughts about the end of my career

Thoughts of a possible end to his career were fleeting, but very clear. Especially because the fall also affected his wife Trine Hansen very much. "My family was always there for me and supported me a lot. But yes, Trine also thought I was going to die when I was lying on the ground," said the 27-year-old.

Vingegaard says he is no slower on the downhills. However, it took some effort to take the same risks as before his fall. "I think I'm over it," said Vingegaard. "It was a challenge for me, but now I think I have no problems with downhills."

Super duel with Pogacar

The current Tour leader Tadej Pogacar does not put much faith in Vingegaard's statements about a weaker form compared to last year. "The moment it became clear that he was riding the Tour, I knew he was at 100 percent. They are just playing it down. They are playing the same game as last year," said the Slovenian on Monday. In the 2023 version of the Tour, Vingegaard ultimately rode seven minutes ahead of Pogacar over two days in the final week. A scenario that should not be repeated.

Tadej Pogacar (front) does not put much faith in Vingegaard's statements. © APA/afp / MARCO BERTORELLO

"I have more confidence in myself than last year. I have the yellow jersey, which feels good. I'm just riding my own race," said Pogacar. He is surprised by the tactics of his great rival. "He's only looking at me. If I were riding behind, he would be riding behind too. That's the dynamic of the race right now. I think he's a little scared." After nine stages, Pogacar is 1:15 minutes ahead of defending champion Vingegaard, who is third. In between is Belgian Remco Evenepoel in second place, 33 seconds behind.

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