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On 26 June, the Tour de France will start. The 108th edition of La Grande Boucle starts in Brest and finishes, as usual, three weeks later on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. What was the preparation of the riders of Team Jumbo-Visma like? Below you can read eight ‘routes to Brest’.
Primoz Roglic is preparing for his fourth participation in the Tour de France. In previous editions he managed to win a total of three stages. This year Roglic opened his season in Paris-Nice in an excellent way. The Slovenian won three stages and seemed to be on his way to the final victory, until two crashes in the final stage spoiled his chances. Less than a month later he took revenge by winning the Itzulia Basque Country.
The leader of Team Jumbo-Visma prepared for the Tour by doing two altitude stages. His last racing day was April 25. “I am confident I’m in shape. Normally I react very well to altitude training. In previous years I also had a period without racing. Like the period between the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España in 2019 or the corona period in 2020.”
The number three of the Tour of 2019 is also at the start of this year’s Tour de France, after having missed last year’s edition due to a shoulder injury. Kruijswijk completed his race kilometres this year in events such as the Tour of Romandie and the Critérium du Dauphiné. With a successful altitude camp in Tignes he put the finishing touches to his preparation for the Tour de France.
“I am happy to be here and I am looking forward to the start of the Tour. I have worked hard with the team in the past period. I have to try to stay with Primoz in the finals and then we will see what we can achieve. We have a nice team and we will bring out the best in ourselves in the next three weeks.”
Through Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico, the Tour of Catalonia and the Ardennes classics, Robert Gesink worked towards the Critérium du Dauphiné.
Gesink is on the verge of his tenth Tour and if it is up to him it will certainly not be his last. Gesink renewed his contract with Team Jumbo-Visma a few months ago: “The team and I have been working together for so long that we now know where we stand with each other. The team has gained momentum in recent years. I would like to continue to be a part of that.”
Fresh out of the mud, brand new father Wout van Aert rode to the fourth place in Strade Bianche this spring, and then finished second in the Tirreno-Adriatico classification. In the monument he won last year, Milano-Sanremo, he finished third. Van Aert concluded his classic campaign in style with a win in the Amstel Gold Race, having previously won Gent-Wevelgem.
After a period of rest, Van Aert had a major setback. Appendicitis clouded his preparation for the Tour de France. The 26-year-old Belgian opted to skip the Critérium du Dauphiné and spend some more time at altitude. At the Belgian championships he pinned on a number again for the first time since mid-April and with success: Van Aert captured the Belgian title. How good his form really is, will become clear in the coming weeks.
With five-time stage winner Tony Martin, Team Jumbo-Visma has one of the most experienced Tour riders at the start. Only Alejandro Valverde has more participations of the riders in this edition of La Grande Boucle.
The fourteenth professional season of the veteran rider began in a bad way as he broke his elbow in the fifth stage of Paris-Nice this spring. In the Tour de Romandie he made his comeback in the peloton. Recently he managed to win the German time trial championship for the tenth time.
Mike Teunissen was forced to forego the 2020 Tour de France due to a crash during an altitude camp. He was also unable to compete in the spring of 2021. A crash in Tenerife led to a knee injury that kept him sidelined until the Tour of Hungary. On his return to Hungary he was close to a stage win. He then worked on his Tour form at the Tour of Switzerland.
At the Dutch championships Teunissen competed in the red-white-and-blue until the final and saw his good friend and teammate Timo Roosen win the title while he finished fourth. A confirmation that Teunissen’s Tour form is quite all right.
Last year Sepp Kuss made his debut in the Tour de France and he did this very well. The American supported leader Roglic in the high mountains. This year Team Jumbo-Visma is again counting on the climbing capacities of Kuss. He has to stay with Roglic and Kruijswijk as long as possible on the uphill parts of the stages.
“I think I am at the same level as last year’s Tour. I feel good. We learned from the past races and the previous edition of the Tour. That has given us an insight on how to start this Tour.”
Jonas Vingegaard is the youngest rider in the Team Jumbo-Visma Tour team. Last year, the 24-year-old Dane made a name for himself on the climb of the Angliru in the Vuelta a España and confirmed his talent this year. In February Vingegaard won a stage of the UAE Tour and a month later he won two stages and the overall classification of the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali.
In the subsequent Itzulia Basque Country, Vingegaard showed that these victories were no fluke. He rode a respectable time trial and in the final stage he helped leader Roglic take the overall victory. The Tour debutant will ride in service of his teammates in the middle and high mountains and the rest of the Tour will be a learning experience for him at the highest level.