In the third and final week of the 2022 Tour de France (TDF) a new overall winner of the 109th event was crowned with a yellow jersey but not before a lot of drama and intrigue. Jonas Vingegaard from Denmark won the Tour de France for the first time ending the dominance of two-time defending champion Tadej Pogacar and signaling the rise of a new super bicycle racing team.
Although one individual is declared the winner, having the support of a team is critical to victory of this long and historic race. Vingegaard’s team, Jumbo-Visma, was dominant at the race winning a total of 6 stage wins, the green jersey for sprinting and the polka dot jersey for climbing in the mountains in addition of the overall yellow jersey. They took control of the race in the Alps and extended it in the Pyrenees and did not let the lead go. Other riders on the podium were Tadej Pogacar, last year’s winner, who finished in second place and Geraint Thomas, the 2018 champion of the TDF with third place.
The race began July 1 in Demark as was followed by three additional stages in the country with large fan turnout. Their countryman won the overall race 21 stages later, the first time a Dane as won it since 1996. Vingegaard earned second place in last year’s TDF and worked as a fish packer in a factory only five years ago. Vingegaard received a hero’s welcome at city hall square in Copenhagen, Denmark on July 27 following celebrations in the Netherlands, the home of the Jumbo-Visma team. It was reported that he arrived in Copenhagen by private plane that was escorted by two F-16 fighter jets from the Danish Defense as is Danish tradition and was greeted by thousands of jubilant fans. The win adds to 2022 being The Year of the Bicycle in Denmark, a title first announced by the Danish Ministry of Transportation following a large infrastructure plan investing $458 million in new cycling infrastructure. Vingegaard says he wants more than one TDF victory and runner up Pogacar says coming in second motivates him for next year. Looking forward to top level competition next year.
Americans in the Tour de France
While interest in the TDF in the US has reduced from the hey day of the Lance Armstrong wins starting in 1999, there are still Americans among the riders in the race. This year there were 7 American cyclists out of the field of 176 and it is worth noting that five of these were under the age of 25. The Americans are riding in support of team mates and none were considered serious contenders for the general classification win. There were no stage wins for any of the Americans this year.
Last year Sepp Kuss a climbing specialist from Colorado won a stage, the first for an American since 2011, and this year he was again on the winning Jumbo-Visma team playing a role in helping the team’s leader win the race.
Neilson Powless, the first native American rider in the TDF in 2020 on the EF Education-Easy Post team, was positioned to help the team leaders achieve strong finishes, but when that did not work out, Powless ending up finishing higher than expected in 13th place. He came close to winning a stage the first week of the TDF.
Tour de France Femmes
The last day of the TDF was the traditional race to Paris with laps around the Champs-Elysees but this year it was also the first day of the inaugural Tour de France Femmes, a women's race. The event started at the Eiffel Tower and consists of 8 stages over 639 miles. A women's race has experienced starts and stops since the first race in 1955 that was held as a one day race. Twenty-four teams will compete in this year's race.
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