"How much does he lose in the first week to Pogacar?" - Bjarne Riis on Jonas Vingegaard's form into Tour de France

Bjarne Riis was the first ever Danish rider to win the Tour de France, back in 1996, and over the past two years he has seen his nation rise to the very top of the Grand Tour world with Jonas Vingegaard. The defending champion's compatriot has no doubt that Vingegaard will be at the Tour, but does worry that he may suffer losses in the opening week.

"If Visma | Lease a Bike now says: he can perhaps ride at 95 percent of his strength and capacity, then they assume that he can first grow to 98 percent and then 100 percent of his ability in the Tour in the first two weeks," Riis said in an interview with BT. "That way they can calculate that." Although it is difficult, if there are not more obstacles in the way, it is likely that Vingegaard will race the Tour de France - just under three months after suffering fractured ribs, a pneumothorax and a fractured collarbone.

Serious injuries that left him off the bike for around a month, and put his Tour title defense at serious risk. However slowly - or rather, perhaps relatively quickly - he travelled to Mallorca to put in a few weeks of work in better weather away from Denmark, and has now this week travelled to Tignes, at altitude in the French Alps. He will be joined by Wout van Aert - who will also certainly be at the Tour - this Sunday, and the rest of the team later on after they complete the Criterium du Dauphiné.

The Dane however will likely race the Tour, but it is expected that he will not arrive with his best form as was the case last year - where he even won, dominantly, the Criterium du Dauphiné before the Grand Boucle. "The risk is then how much does he lose in the first week to Pogacar?" Riis questions.

"If I were him, I would probably do everything from the start to be at the top and test him. And that is perhaps what they are also nervous about at Visma | Lease a Bike."

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