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Jonas Vingegaard blows up Tirreno-Adriatico – 'I wanted to race and take risks'

Jonas Vingegaard lost 22 seconds to Juan Ayuso in the opening time trial of Tirreno-Adriatico but the Tour de France winner and his Visma-Lease a Bike team always had a plan to attack on the key San Giacomo climb of stage 5 and executed it with precision on Friday.

The Dane took flight after some superb high speed chasing and tempo work from his teammates, surging away from Ayuso and the rest with 5.6km of the climb to go and still some 29.5km from the finish.

He stomped on the pedals, turning his 52-tooth single chainring with apparent power and ease. He was a level above everyone else in the splintered peloton and soon opened a significant lead.

Vingegaard plunged down the descent of San Giacomo and then climbed up to the finish line in Valle Castellana, extending his lead on the chasers at the finish line to 1:12.

Thanks to a ten-second time bonus, Vingegaard now leads the race ahead of Ayuso by a significant 54 seconds. Only a terrible day on the mountain stage to Monte Petrano on Saturday can stop him from winning this year’s Tirreno-Adriatico.

“Sometimes you need to take a risk and take your chances. Today I wanted to race and take risks. It paid off,” Vingegaard said calmly post-stage but with inner confidence.

“It’s nice to win solo. I liked to race like that and win. We had the plan to attack on this stage for quite a while and we executed the plan to perfection. I have to say thanks to teammates who worked all day and who all were strong, to pay them off is great.”

Vingegaard surprisingly lost 22 seconds to Ayuso in the opening 10 km time trial on Monday but he and Visma-Lease a Bike didn’t panic and simply waited for their favoured terrain.

“I knew what I’d done before this race and knew my shape was good, so I always trusted myself and the level I have. We believed in it or otherwise, we wouldn’t do what we did today,” Vingegaard explained.

“In the time trial, I did good performance numbers, so instead of taking the time loss as a bad thing, I saw it as a good thing. I knew my shape was there, so why not try an attack?”

“Saturday is probably the big, big stage of the race but today was also a chance and I think you have to take your chances. Now I have a stage win and the leader’s blue jersey.”

As always, Vingegaard kissed his wedding ring as he crossed the finish line. On International Women’s Day, he made a special dedication to his partner Trine Marie Hansen.

“I want to dedicate this win to my wife. She’s always there to support me and it means absolutely everything that she’s always there,” he said.

“Without her, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do. She’s a big part of me winning races but also the whole development I’ve had. I thank her so much. She means everything to me.”

After a series of long-range solo attacks and spectacular victories by Tour de France rivals Remco Evenepoel and Tadej Pogacar, Vingegaard responded with his own ‘exploit’ and his own solo victory.

Was it the best performance so far of 2024? Is Vingegaard the best climber in the world as Pogacar has recently suggested? That is for others to say.

“That’s a hard question,” Vingegaard said.

“For sure I’m up there but it’s hard to say who is the best and so it’s a discussion I’m not going into.

“Tadej is one of them, too. I’m just happy that he thinks that about me and he’s a super good guy too. Hopefully, we’ll have some friendly fights in the future.”

SOURCE: CyclingNews   (go to source)
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