Jumbo-Visma has smelled blood in the first mountain stage of the 2023 Tour de France as Jonas Vingegaard dropped Tadej Pogacar at a kilometer from the top of the Col du Marie Blanque.
Pogacar couldn’t really react to Vingegaard’s first attack in this Tour. He didn’t even attempt to jump to his wheel, but immediately kept his own pace. A speed that was not even high enough to unload Vingegaard’s last lieutenant Sepp Kuss.
“I wanted to test him a bit and my legs were good and so I’m super happy with where I am,” Vingegaard explained. “I’m super happy with taking a minute, that’s a good time gain for me.”
Vingegaard refuted any suggestion that he is the big favourite for overall victory or that Pogacar is somehow finished as a rival.
“I don’t know about that, we’ll just do our best and see where it ends up in Paris,” he said. “I just felt good and I look at myself. If I feel good then I try to attack.
“I know Tadej never gives up, so it will be a fight all the way to Paris. I’m super happy with having 53 seconds, it’s super nice. Of course, we have to look to Jai Hindley too.”
“The plan was to have one guy or two guys in the break, as satellite riders. We ended up with three guys in the break, so that’s even better and the guys did super great today,” Vingegaard said.
“We didn’t have to pull in the bunch which was good for us, then on the final climb I felt good and I said to Sepp that he should go to the front and start pushing. He did, then I attacked. That’s it.”