"I see a touch of Oscar Freire in Jonas Vingegaard" - Visma DS compares Tour de France champion to legendary Spanish world champion

Jonas Vingegaard is the talk of the cycling world at the moment. Will the Dane make it to the start line of the 2024 Tour de France? That remains to be seen but one man who has been up close and personal with the Dane's recovery is Team Visma | Lease a Bike sports director, Frans Maassen, with the DS recently opening up on the personality of the two-time Tour de France winner.

"In essence, many riders are insecure, but I have never seen what Jonas was like before. Now he is the opposite and very relaxed," Maassen says in conversation with Wielerrevue about the supposed personality change Vingegaard has undergone since winning his first Tour, becoming more confident in his own abilities and an incredibly driven individual.

In terms of the 27-year-old Dane's personality, Maassen sees a fine comparison to a legendary name of the past in three-time former world champion, the Spaniard Oscar Freire. "I must say that contemporary cycling would be more difficult for someone as absent-minded as Freire. That type is no longer around, but very occasionally I see a touch of Freire in Jonas. They have a certain form of relaxation outside the race are," Maassen explains openly. "And even more importantly: there is a physical similarity. Just like Jonas, Freire was able to quickly improve in terms of level. They go from average to top level very quickly. Léon van Bon was also such a rider."

Freire took three Rainbow Jerseys in 1999, 2001 and 2004

Although Vingegaard's Tour de France participation remains up in the air, the latest news from Team Visma | Lease a Bike's altitude training camp in Tignes is seemingly rather positive. "Jonas will decide for himself whether or not he will go to the Tour. He has to feel for himself whether he is completely ready for it in all respects and whether he is the old Jonas again. The choice is his. We will never force a rider to take a to compete," Merijn Zeeman said recently. "I don't think that decision can be made until a week before the start of the Tour. We do not have another rider of his level and with his characteristics in the team. Jonas is so extremely talented that he can grow to a high level very quickly if he is taxable. That means he has a special place for us and we will indeed be waiting for a long time."

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