"I’ve never seen anything like it" - Jonas Vingegaard 'gaining confidence' with every day says coach monitoring his recovery

A short while ago, it seemed impossible that Jonas Vingegaard would be fit enough to defend his Tour de France Maillot Jaune later this summer. With the Grand Tour now just weeks away however, there is growing confidence within the Dane according to the coach in charge of his recovery.

“What impresses me the most is, especially after injury or being sick, how fast these top athletes can improve,” Tim Heemskerk says in conversation with Velo. “When Jonas follows the training and does all the [right] things, I’ve never seen anything like it. I think it’s part of genetics but it’s also trusting in what you’re doing. I think it was two years ago, in one of the altitude camps before Dauphiné, one of the teammates said ‘ah, it’s not fair. This guy trains for a week, and he’s improving so fast.’ That is that is something that I’ve never seen with any other athlete yet, that he is so able to improve so quickly.”

This year, Team Visma | Lease a Bike head to the Criterium du Dauphine with Sepp Kuss an Matteo Jorgenson, whilst Vingegaard continues his recuperation. “I also do realize that he’s dealing now with a situation which is different than just an illness, that it will take energy,” Heemskerk explains. “It’s not like, ‘ah, I don’t feel pain,’ that nothing’s happening in the body. His body is still healing. That takes energy, and it also takes energy away from the [training] adaptation process. We give our all, we try to make every day a winning plan. But we don’t we don’t have a lot of time. So every day counts.”

Vingegaard was in good form prior to his crash as proven at Tirreno-Adriatico

“He went to Majorca to be training uphill, and also descending on a higher speed. This is really the next step again, towards a normal Jonas," the coach continues. “When he is able to join the team, the complete Tour de France team when they come from Dauphiné, that will also be the moment Jonas will be training and descending in a group again.”

Admittedly though, and somewhat understandably, there's is still a slight feeling of trepidation on Vingegaard's part. “I think everybody will have it after such a high speed crash,” Heemskerk says. “Having so many injuries, and trauma. So that’s normal when you get back on the bike. But also when you have had broken bones, and you’re released to go ride outside, there is also the fear of falling onto that same side again when you know it’s not completely recovered yet. So that is something everybody would have on their minds.”

“It’s just about gaining the confidence,” he said. “You know how it is if you go train in the Alps. If you haven’t done it for a while, then you have to get used to it again. And then maybe after a week, you’re going pretty fast down the descent. It’s just something that comes with doing it.”

“He’s in Tignes now. He is there for a few days now, taking easy rides to get used to the altitude," concludes the coach. “Then [after that adaptation] it’s just train, eat sleep, spend time with the family. That’s probably the best possible thing we can do at the moment. And then monitor every day if it’s going to be good enough to even start the Tour. We’re not sure yet how this will evolve. The most important thing is that Jonas should get the feeling at one point like, ‘this is doable,’ or ‘I have my doubts, it is not doable.’ Of course then the plan will change. For now, we do our best, day by day. Jonas is putting in the hours and watches his nutrition and do the things we normally would do on an altitude camp. Then we will see how the body will react to it.”

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