Is Tadej Pogacar ready for a duel with Jonas Vingegaard after his fall and subsequent surgery?
Tour de France
Favorites and key stages: Questions and answers about the 2023 Tour
2 HOURS AGO
Last year, Pogacar’s helpers were very weak early on due to failures. How do you assess the team strength of Jumbo-Visma and UAE?
Voigt: That’s Vingegaard’s big advantage: His team is much stronger, there’s no comparison to the other teams in terms of depth and breadth of the squad. Many of their drivers would be captains elsewhere themselves, they are that good!
Missing this time around is Primoz Roglic, who played a key role as co-captain in the ultimately crucial stage at the Glandon in 2022: what about the tactical options for Jumbo?
Voigt: They will have to think again, because in a head-to-head I think Pogacar is the better driver. The situation for Jumbo is different this time, because Sepp Kuss and Wilco Keldermann are great drivers, but not captains whose attacks Pogacar would have to react to directly. They don’t have a plan B this time. They have to come up with a new, unconventional tactic and use the power of their team to do so. Because they are superior to UAE there and they could try, for example, to isolate Pogacar in the mountains as often and as early as possible so that he can then leave his strength there.
But in Adam Yates, UAE have a real co-captain this time alongside Pogacar, he was second in the Dauphiné and won the Tour de Romandie: how does that affect the balance of power?
Voigt: He’s really been an important asset to the team. Because last year Pogacar lost because there was not always a helper at his side on the last mountain. That will be different with Yates and give him more security.
The start of the tour is a real challenge this time, what can the drivers expect?
What role will the bonuses play in the finish and on selected climbs? At Paris-Nice in March, Pogacar was already chasing every second to distance Vingegaard…
Voigt: You will certainly fight for every bonus. Because you can collect really important seconds in total and also demoralize the opponent a bit. The level between them is too even, so they have to try to use every little advantage.
Voigt: Honestly no! There are a lot of great riders in this Tour, but in my opinion nobody who could be at the front at the level of Pogacar and Vingegaard. For Bora-hansgrohe, Jai Hindley makes his Tour debut with big aspirations, but a Giro win doesn’t quite compare to a Tour win. He can certainly take part in the fight for the podium, but it will hardly go higher than third place. That also applies to David Gaudu, Mikel Landa, Ben O’Connor or Richard Carapaz – I don’t see anyone on an equal footing with the two big favourites.
Voigt: Only a happy driver is a good driver. If someone is forced to do something against their will, then they only drive with 80 percent passion. One of my children was born during the tour and I only attended his birthday twice during my playing days. Van Aert is the key driver at Jumbo alongside Vingegaard, but childbirth, let’s not forget, is also a dangerous moment for both mother and child. Wanting to have your partner by your side is an absolutely understandable desire. If then criticized “the drivers are all soft” – that’s nonsense! It’s just different today and I think it’s better that way!
In the second part of his big tour preview, Jens Voigt talks here on Friday about the chances of the German starters and his “comeback” as a motorcycle reporter in the middle of the tour!
Pogacar relinquishes role as favorite – Vingegaard relaxed before the start
2 HOURS AGO
Tour de France
Gilbert with tactical tip for Vingegaard: “If I were Jumbo…”
6 HOURS AGO