After yet another dominant display on the Col de la Loze, an almost certain second Tour victory, a seven and a half minute lead over Tadej Pogačar and a L’Équipe front page harking back to the Armstrong years, Jonas Vingegaard is under no illusions that his yellow jersey is being given the same scrutiny as any other. The main difference is how he is responding to the questions.
Last year, the Jumbo-Visma rider said he was “clean” rather than having “never tested positive.” This Tour, he’s insisted he’s “never taken anything” and not only understands the scepticism but thinks it’s a good thing.
An hour before the start of stage 17, both Jonas Vingegaard’s Jumbo-Visma squad and the UAE Team Emirates team of Tadej Pogačar were subjected to extra blood tests on their bus.
“I applaud this,” Jumbo-Visma boss Richard Plugge. “In fact, I also worked hard for this. In this way we are taking another step in the fight against doping. Jonas Vingegaard has had no less than four blood tests in the last 48 hours. We are happy to participate in this.” UAE Team Emirates agreed: “I think this is only good for cycling. We have no problem with this,” a spokesperson told Wielerflits.
Following stage 17, in yet another yellow jersey press conference, Vingegaard was asked once again what he and his team could do to assuage concerns.
“For me, it’s hard to tell what more you can say,” Vingegaard said. “I guess, I understand that it’s hard to trust in cycling with the past there has been. But I think nowadays everyone is different than they were 20 years ago. And I can tell from my heart that I don’t take anything. I don’t take anything I would not give to my daughter, and I would definitely not give her any drugs.”
Vingegaard is a family man. We don’t need reminding again. To bring his daughter into the question of his trustworthiness is a bold move and so we are presented with two options: either Jonas Vingegaard is as clean as he says he is, or he’s a psychopath who would use his children as a shield in a press conference.
As a follow-up, Vingegaard was then asked about performance-enhancing products that are not yet banned.
“I’ve never heard about such a substance so I don’t know exactly what it does or what it is, it’s hard for me to say anything about it, if it should be illegal or not,” Vingegaard said. “I never took it and I never heard about it before.”
These questions are inevitable at the Tour, and often leave a sour taste in the mouth on the third and final week. Yet Jumbo-Visma will have to take it in their stride. After all, when Pogačar blew away Primož Roglič in the 2020 Planche des Belles Filles time trial, they left a lot of their own questions and ponderings over Pogačar’s performance in the final cut of their ‘Code Yellow’ documentary of the race. Now, the shoe is just on someone else’s foot.
Update: Following clarification, the journalist that was enquiring about performance-enhancing products that aren’t banned was specifically asking about thyroid medication relating to the secretion of the thyroxine hormone into the bloodstream.
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