Jonas Vingaard wins the Tour de France

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Jonas Vingaard completed an unlikely race to a Tour de France victory on Sunday just three years after turning professional, with the 25-year-old Danish rider soaking up the atmosphere along the Champs-Élysées in Paris to close out the 21st and final stage.

Competing in the Tour de France for only the second time, Vingaard claimed the triumph after claiming such a comfortable margin in the mountains that no other rider was able to make up enough ground before the traditional closing day.

Vingaard’s winning time was 79 hours 33 minutes 20 seconds. Slovenian Tadej Pogacar took second place, 2 minutes 43 seconds behind, and Briton Geraint Thomas was third, 7:22 behind, in the three-week event.

Belgian Jasper Philipsen won the final stage for his second stage victory by several bike lengths. Dylan Groenewegen of the Netherlands was second in the sprint ahead of third-placed Alexander Kristoff of Norway.

Vingeard placed second in Saturday’s time trial behind Jumbo-Visma team-mate Wout van Aert to take a 3-minute, 34-second lead on the final day. His time, however, left him so far ahead of his closest pursuers that soon after he was done he was able to begin his crowning glory by kissing his partner, Trine Hansen, and their 2-year-old daughter, Frida.

He did it again on Sunday almost immediately after crossing the line.

“Having my two daughters at the finish line means even more to me,” he told reporters on Saturday. “I’m so happy and proud.”

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Among Vingaard’s closest challengers was Pogacar, who were looking for a third straight win. He was chasing Vingegaard, vice-champion of the Tour de France last year, since the Dane had taken the yellow jersey from him in the Alps.

Vingegaard surged last year after Jumbo-Visma’s No.1 driver Primoz Roglic retired following an accident. His performance on the heels of Roglic’s start featured one of the fastest times on the ascent of Mont Ventoux.

The ending to Vingaard’s storybook is all the more compelling because three years ago he worked part-time in a packinghouse in Denmark, gutting and cleaning fish. He was also employed at a fish auction, often waking well before sunrise and working in freezing temperatures.

Van Aert, meanwhile, finished this year’s Tour de France with the green jersey, given to the best sprinter in the race. Van Aert won three stages while helping his teammate on the rugged Hautacam climb on stage 18, breaking away and controlling the pace.

Pogacar couldn’t stay tied down and eventually disappeared as Vingaard and van Aert continued to climb, keeping the Jumbo-Visma team well ahead to win their sixth of 20 stages.

“I think the battle between me and Jonas was really something special and Jonas was really something special,” the 23-year-old Pogacar said. “It will be two interesting years ahead for us.”

The festivities also marked the return of women to the most-watched in-person sports spectacle in the world. The Women’s Tour de France kicked off on Sunday with 24 teams of six riders vying for the title in the eight-day, 640-mile stage race ending in the Vosges, marking the fifth time in 119 years that the Tour de France has featured female competitors. .

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