Jonas Vingegaard Will Not Represent Denmark in the Paris Olympics

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Vingegaard Excluded from Danish Olympic SquadTHOMAS SAMSON - Getty Images

Winning two consecutive Tours de France (one of which featured one of the greatest time trials of all time) does not cement your place on a national team. At least, it doesn’t for the Danish national team, who left two-time reigning Tour champion Jonas Vingegaard-Hansen of Visma-Lease a Bike off their four-man squad for this summer’s Paris Olympics.

Instead, the Danes will bring UAE Team Emirates’ Mikkel Bjerg, Astana Qazaqstan’s Michael Mørkøv, and Lidl-Trek’s Mads Pedersen and Mattias Skjelmose to Paris. The four will represent Denmark in the road race on August 3. Bjerg will race in the time trial on July 27.

The idea that the Danish Olympic committee might not select him is hardly news to Vingegaard, who, last November, told Danish news source Ritzau, “I hope that I will be selected, but it will not surprise me if I am not. It may well be that the national coach chooses four others instead.”

The Paris course is closer in its DNA to a typical Classics course, which doesn’t necessarily suit Vingegaard. Over 273 kilometers, the peloton will climb just 2,800 meters.

It’s no surprise, then, that the Danes’ medal hopes in the road race rest squarely on the shoulders of Mads Pedersen, who had a strong this spring with a win a Ghent-Wevelgem, victories at the Tour of Provence and Etoile de Bessegès, and third- and fourth-place finishes at Paris-Roubaix and Milano-Sanremo, respectively. On Saturday, he won the opening stage of Critérium du Dauphiné.

“I look forward to helping Mads. I am an assistant rider on a daily basis and specialize in just that,” Bjerg, who was an essential piece of the puzzle for Tadej Pogačar’s (UAE Team Emirates) dominant Giro d’Italia win last month, said. “I know I can make a difference to the team. We have a strong Danish team, and we must show that we are ready to fight for the medals in Paris.”

But the spotlight will shine on Bjerg in the time trial, which some thought might be Vingegaard’s race, considering the masterclass he displayed to essentially lock up last year’s Tour de France. “I look forward to the time trial. I have worked with time trials for 10 years, and I know what it takes to ‘peak’ in that discipline,” Bjerg added.

It’s impossible to say which way the committee was leaning early this year, but it’s likely that Vingegaard’s brutal crash at Itzulia Basque Country in April sealed his fate.

In that crash, he broke his collarbone and several ribs and suffered a pulmonary contusion and a collapsed lung. The latter two injuries kept the twenty-seven-year-old Dane in the hospital for twelve days. He’s currently at an altitude camp in Tignes, high in the French Alps, training for July’s Tour de France, hoping he’ll be fit enough to try and hold off Pogačar and claim his third straight yellow jersey.

Visma-Lease a Bike remains cagey about whether or not Vingegaard will roll out at the Grand Départ in Florence on June 29. However, Visma’s team director, Grisha Niermann, recently publicly endorsed Vingagaard. “The confidence is in Jonas, and Jonas is the guy that can win the race,” Niermann recently told reporters.

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