"We’re looking at how we can go into the Tour de France with the best team possible" - Visma keeping close eye on progress of Jonas Vingegaard & Wout van Aert

After their dominant season in 2023, winning all three Grand Tours, Team Visma | Lease a Bike have suffered much worse luck this year. Both leaders at the Giro d'Italia (Olav Kooij and Cian Uijtdebroeks) abandoned through illness and the Tour de France plans are very much up in the air after crashes to Wout van Aert and Jonas Vingegaard.

For Vingegaard, the two-time, back-to-back Tour de France winner, it was a nasty crash at the Itzulia Basque Country that left him suffering from a fractured collarbone, fractured rib(s) and a pneumothorax, requiring a lengthy spell in hospital to recover. Although he's recently been spotted back on his bike and training in Mallorca with a new tattoo, whether or not the Dane will be able to compete at the Tour de France again later this summer, remains up in the air.

“I think that he’s doing pretty well but he needs to be at 100 per cent to go there,” Team Visma | Lease a Bike boss Richard Plugge tells GCN about Vingegaard's Tour de France hopes. “He’s a two-time winner of the Tour de France so we have to see how it evolves in the coming weeks. So far he’s doing well, you see the news here and there that he’s training."

“We can do a lot in training and that’s better so far,” Plugge continues, casting doubt on Vingegaard's possibility to compete at the Criterium du Dauphine, where Remco Evenepoel and Primoz Roglic who were involved in the same crash as Vingegaard, will be making their return to racing. “The start of the Dauphiné is a deadline if we want him to be there or if we want him to train because we can get to the best level with training. And the deadline ultimately is the Tour de France.”

Wout van Aert meanwhile, saw his plans for the spring and even an intended Giro d'Italia debut ruined by a nasty crash at Dwars door Vlaanderen. The Belgian is seemingly further along in his recovery than Vingegaard and already back racing at the Tour of Norway this week, although without any expectations of performing at his usual level.

"Wout is coming back. We’re looking at how we can go into the Tour de France with the best team possible. Because if we go there we want to win it again so we need to be 100% with everyone going there. Hopefully, Jonas can make it but now we wait and see,” Plugge says of van Aert. “He starts in Norway and if that goes in the right direction then the Tour de France is obviously an option for us to bring him to the Tour again, and then we have a really strong squad again."

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