"It is not the case that the strongest always wins, there are also other components" - Merijn Zeeman on how lesser Jonas Vingegaard can challenge Tadej Pogacar

The longer Team Visma | Lease a Bike don't officially confirm Jonas Vingegaard's absence from the 2024 Tour de France, the more likely it seems that the Dane will be present at the Grand Depart in Florence.

Having had some a horrific crash at the Itzulia Basque Country earlier this year however, with broken bones and a punctured lung seeing the two time, back to back Tour de France winner spend time in intensive care afterwards, Vingegaard will not start the 2024 Tour de France as the pre-race favourite. That honour goes to his long time rival, Tadej Pogacar.

Despite the immense form of UAE Team Emirates' Slovenian leader, as showcased by his complete domination of the 2024 Giro d'Italia however, Vingegaard remains in with a shout. At least that is the belief of Team Visma | Lease a Bike's soon departing sports director, Merijn Zeeman. "Jonas is just training, he can do that. But he was in such a mess. We just don't know yet about being 'competitive' in the Tour. I said a while ago that that is the condition for Jonas," Zeeman says in conversation with Cycloo Wielercafé.

Because of Vingegaard's lesser legs than in previous years and the fact Pogacar enters the Tour de France full of confidence and momentum, Zeeman, Team Visma | Lease a Bike and Vingegaard himself will have to work smarter, not harder if they wish to claim a Maillot Jaune hat trick. "We have now come a lot further," Zeeman explains. "Perhaps we should nuance that. It is not the case that the strongest always wins, there are also other components, such as tactics."

"We are looking at that. Is that a stage? We do not know yet. We have to look carefully at what we can expect. He also has a say in that. I've spoken to him a lot and it's really getting closer now, so we have to make a decision," he concludes. "You can't speed up some things, especially rehabilitation, after such a serious fall. It just takes a while before you get back to your best. They do everything for it. But things are going in the right direction."

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