Joxean Matxin and UAE react to Visma's Jonas Vingegaard selection for Tour de France: "I’d have done the same"

The Tour de France is starting in just over a week and Team Visma | Lease a Bike anticipated rival teams in their announcement of the lineup. Jonas Vingegaard, as expected, is present in the '8', and UAE Team Emirates' Joxean Matxin was asked about his thoughts regarding the team that also includes Wout van Aert and Matteo Jorgenson.

"He’s a rider who’s won the Tour for the last two years and he’s got to be motivated to try to win the best race in the world again," Matxin said in an interview with Cyclingnews. “I have no doubt that even if he only had a 10% chance of winning, I’d have done the same... You want to know how you’re doing, what your level is compared to the rivals.” Whilst Tadej Pogacar was on the back foot last year with an injury hampering his preparation for the Tour, this time around the roles are different with Visma battling plenty obstacles before the start of the race.

But this announcement was already expected and Matxin, manager at the UAE team, argues that this changes nothing about the team's approach to the Tour: “We’d already planned things out with our eight riders for the Tour right back at that training camp in December and we already had the idea Jonas Vingegaard would be taking part, he hadn’t crashed at that point. So we haven’t changed our perspective at all."

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"We remain focused on what we do, rather than thinking about what our rivals could do. We have to keep very much in mind who they are of course, but we have to work on what we can work on, and that’s our team," he continues, before mentioning Tadej Pogacar who is currently training at altitude ahead of the Grand Boucle. "And Tadej is concentrating on his work, his training and on doing things as well as possible to get to the Tour at 120%.”

Visma have a strong lineup for the mountains including Paris-Nice winner and Criterium du Dauphiné runner-up Matteo Jorgenson, Vuelta a España winner Sepp Kuss, but also several high-quality domestiques who can provide Vingegaard with vital assistance on multiple terrains. This includes Wout van Aert.

"The fact that he couldn’t go to the Giro because of that crash means he’s had to change direction and head for the Tour. The whole team is going to be massively, massively important," Matxin is aware of. "They won the three Grand Tours in 2023, how could they be anything but important this year in the Tour?”

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