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The other Cannibal – Jonas Vingegaard ready to impress at Tirreno-Adriatico

Over to you, Jonas Vingegaard. After Tadej Pogačar’s latest performance for the ages at Strade Bianche, it is now up to Vingegaard to show what he can do at Tirreno-Adriatico.

Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) is not riding the Tirreno-Adriatico and he is not scheduled to race against Vingegaard (Visma-Lease a Bike) this side of the Tour de France. Instead, the biggest Grand Tour favourites will clash by correspondence until July, pushing one another from a distance at different races, trying not to show concern about each other’s success.    

“I was travelling and so I didn’t see Strade Bianche but I know Tadej did an 80 kilometre attack and that’s quite impressive,” Vingegaard said of Pogacar’s victory in Siena.

“He looks good, so we have to consider him as an opponent as always. When someone is that good, you also have to be good, so you have to put in the hard work too. That is motivating.”  

At Paris-Nice, the duel between Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep) and Primož Roglič (Bora-Hansgrohe) is the big draw. At Tirreno-Adriatico, top billing is reserved for Vingegaard, with Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates), Tao Geoghegan Hart (Lidl-Trek), Richard Carapaz (EF Education-EasyPost), Ben O’Connor (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale) and Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) his most dangerous rivals.

It’s difficult to picture anything other than a Vingegaard triumph, even though the battle with Ayuso will be fascinating.

Vingegaard can lean on a Visma-Lease A Bike supporting cast that includes Cian Uijtdebroeks, Dylan van Baarle and Steven Kruijswijk, a further advantage as he tries to win Tirreno-Adriatico for the first time.  

“I was second two years ago and hopefully I can at least fight for the victory this year,” Vingegaard said, knowing that Pogačar beat him in 2022 before the Dane got revenge and won his first Tour de France later in the year.  

“I’d say it’s the first big goal of the spring. I’m not racing a lot but I’m still racing quite a bit and for me it’s a nice goal. It’s one of the biggest races outside of the Grand Tours and definitely one I’d love to win.

“I was lucky not to get sick at Gran Camiño. I had a decent week, I didn’t lose any form and I was able to recover. It was a good decision not to do Strade Bianche too, it would have been a bit too much. But it’s a cool race that I love to watch. I like gravel when it’s a one-day race like Strade Bianche.”

Opening 10km time trial to create first GC time gaps

Already in a race of his own on his season debut at O Gran Camiño last week, the Dane will be expected to turn in a similarly dominant display at Tirreno-Adriatico.

This time twelve months ago, Vingegaard suffered the lone defeat of his Tour build-up, when he was soundly beaten by Pogačar at Paris-Nice. In the moment, it seemed as though Pogačar was back on his perch, but Vingegaard wasn’t knocked off his stride, despite finishing third behind Gaudu. A month later, he was back up to speed and utterly dominant at Itzulia Basque Country, and he has scarcely relented since.

Vingegaard glided through the Dauphiné and then claimed an emphatic Tour win ahead of Pogačar. At the Vuelta a España, his double hopes were stalled in the dying days only by teammate Sepp Kuss’ grip on the maillot rojo.

After Pogačar’s latest exhibition at Strade Bianche, it would be a surprise if Vingegaard didn’t respond in kind this week. This year, at least, the pair seem to be in a league of their own.

Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) is the favourite to win the out-and-back 10km time-trial along the Lido di Camaiore coastline for a third time but Vingegaard will surely gain time on all his GC rivals.  

The decisive day at Tirreno-Adriatico, meanwhile, comes on the final weekend, with a summit finish atop Monte Petrano on stage 6. On the evidence of the season thus far, few will be able to withstand the inevitable Vingegaard onslaught on the 10km climb where Carlos Sastre won on the 2009 Giro d’Italia.

“I don’t see myself winning the time trial, I think there are bigger favourites like Filippo Ganna. I just hope to do a good TT and see if I win or lose time,” Vingegaard said.

“It’s very important to get a good start, to lay the base for the rest of the race. Maybe the pressure will be on us but I think that’s normal and we’re used to it. We’ll have to do what we can. If you win, you win. If you don’t, life goes on…”

SOURCE: CyclingNews   (go to source)
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