With Wout van Aert reportedly set to lead a GC charge at the Giro d'Italia before focusing on the Olympic Games next summer, Vuelta a Espana champion Sepp Kuss keen to defend his title next year and Nathan van Hooydonck forced into early retirement, Jonas Vingegaard is concerned about the lack of support ahead of next year's Tour de France.
"I believe that Sepp will go to the Vuelta as leader to defend his title. I will be the leader in the Tour, but he may have a different role there than he has had in recent years," the 26-year-old predicts in conversation with DR. "Then he often helped in the final, but he is so strong that he can also ride in the top five himself. So we can keep him in the game."
Jonas Vingegaard: “I still have a dream of riding the Olympics at some point, but I don't think the route suits me particularly well"
This new role as a plan-B, backup general classification challenger for Kuss means that Jumbo-Visma could see similar infighting as happened at the Vuelta a Espana this year. "I don't think I'll lose him as the main uphill servant, but we need to talk about it," Vingegaard explains. "It may be that Sepp has wishes, but we have to look at how we have the best chance of winning the Tour. If that's me, we'll ride for me. But it can also be done in a different way."
However, it's the loss of van Aert and van Hooydonck from the Tour de France lineup of Jumbo-Visma that really concerns Vingegaard. "Wout's big goal is probably the Giro next year, and then probably the Olympic Games, I can imagine. The course in Paris suits him very well, which may be the reason why he did not want to ride the Tour de France," Vingegaard says of van Aert.
"He is one of the best servants I have had in the past three years," continues the two-time, back-to-back Tour de France winner. "Not only him, but also Nathan Van Hooydonck, we lose great helpers in the Tour. Wout is good in all areas and can make a big difference. Nathan makes a big difference on the flat, he always kept me safe there. We will miss them, because they are difficult to replace. It will be exciting to see what happens to the Tour team. Getting replacements now is a bit late."