After a strong sprint, Wout van Aert has won the final stage of the Tour de France on the Champs-Élysées. Jonas Vingegaard finished second in the general classification. The Dane of Team Jumbo-Visma crowned his debut in La Grande Boucle with a podium place. It is the third consecutive year that the Dutch team has achieved a top three ranking in the final classification of the Tour.
Thanks to a strong lead out by Mike Teunissen, Van Aert sprinted to his third stage victory. The Belgian won a mountain stage and a time trial earlier in the Tour and now also a sprint stage.
The Tour de France started in a bad way for Team Jumbo-Visma. In the first stage an inattentive spectator caused a crash in which almost the entire team of leader Primoz Roglic was involved. In the third stage Roglic again crashed, after which he continued with a heavy injury. After the eighth stage the Slovenian had to abandon. Tony Martin and Robert Gesink also literally crashed out of the Tour, while Steven Kruijswijk had to give up sick in the third week.
Team Jumbo-Visma continued to compete with the young Vingegaard in the top of the general classification. In addition, Wout van Aert and Sepp Kuss achieved success in four different stages. Van Aert was the best in the stage that included two passes over the mythical Mont-Ventoux, in the time trial on the penultimate day and today on the Champs-Élysées, while Kuss triumphed in a mountain stage in his home town of Andorra.
Van Aert could hardly comprehend his third stage victory of this Tour on the Champs-Élysées. “It has been a real rollercoaster. To finish the Tour in this way is beyond my expectations. This victory is priceless. My team, and Mike in particular, did a perfect job. I had confidence in Mike and just had to keep his wheel. Hats off to his lead out.”
Vingegaard did not expect to finish second in the overall classification this year. “If someone had said to me a month ago that I would come second in the Tour, I wouldn’t have believed them. I never expected a podium place in my first Tour and I still don’t quite believe it. I came to the Tour as a replacement for Tom and as Primoz’ servant. I had to stay in the classification as long as possible to be able to play multiple cards if necessary. Unfortunately we lost Primoz in the first week. That gave me a chance and it’s great how it worked out.”
According to the Dane, the second week was a tipping point in the Tour for his team. “We kept fighting as a team. In the second week we won two stages and I moved up to the top of the rankings. We started to believe in it more and more. In the third week things went well for us again and a podium place came into sight. To finish on the podium in the Tour de France is a dream come true. I am very happy with that.”
Sportive director Merijn Zeeman spoke of a Tour that went from extreme disappointment to enormous joy. “I am extremely proud of this entire team, both riders and staff. They have managed to maintain the spirit and focus and set new goals. We all believed in that and went for it. That resilience is a great thing and in top sport crucial to be successful. We did this together and that fills us with joy and pride.”
“After those setbacks, we kept thinking in solutions and not in problems”, Zeeman continued. “We succeeded in that and that is very nice. We kept the faith and came up with a tactic and strategy together with the group of riders. We put a lot of time into this. The performances that Jonas has shown have helped us tremendously. That was a big goal to keep going for. That together made it all come together very well.”
The fact that Team Jumbo-Visma is on the podium, despite only reaching Paris with four riders, has to do with the quality within the team, according to Zeeman. “We kept believing that we could be successful. We dealt with the setbacks in a good way. We regretted that four of our guys had to leave the Tour and we took a moment to reflect on that too, but then we also looked at tomorrow.”
Zeeman, in addition to the fine achievements of the present, does not forget to look to the future. “We have the top of the present, but also of the future in our team. That gives us the belief and awareness that we will also be among the best in the world in the coming years. We have an obligation to continue working with the same passion and energy as we do now. These results have not come out of the blue. They are the result of the hard work of many people in our team who are all pulling in the same direction.”