Jonas Vingegaard crowned champion as Jasper Philipsen crushes rivals on Champs-Elysees at Tour de France
Denmark’s Jonas Vingegaard was crowned Tour de France champion in Paris on Sunday after crossing the line arm-in-arm with his Jumbo-Visma team-mates on the Champs-Elysees. With team-mate Wout van Aert opting not to contest the sprint, victory in Stage 21 went to Jasper Philipsen – despite an opportunistic last-ditch attack on the final lap by Tadej Pogacar.
Philipsen destroys field to win Stage 21 in Paris, Vingegaard crowned champion
A wonderful edition of the Tour de France came to a close as the sun set over Paris with outgoing champion Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) putting in a spirited attack on the final lap, the remaining Jumbo-Visma riders crossing the line together to celebrate Jonas Vingegaard’s overall win and Wout van Aert's green jersey, and Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) storming the final sprint by a number of bike lengths.
Denmark’s Vingegaard, 25, lapped up the applause as he came home arm-in-arm with his team-mates – including the race's most combative rider Van Aert, who opted not to contest the final sprint that he won 12 months ago.
“It’s just incredible – now I’ve finally won the Tour,” Vingegaard, who also secured the polka dot jersey, said at the finish. “It’s the biggest cycling race you can win and now I’ve done it – nobody can take this away from me.
“I always believed I could win this Tour, but when I really started believing it was after Hautacam,” he added, referring to his Stage 18 win in the Pyrenees.
In Van Aert’s absence on the Champs-Elysees, a rather subdued bunch sprint was nevertheless seen out with an emphatic win from another Belgian. Philipsen launched from the wheel of Dylan Groenewegen (BikeExchange-Jayco) to power to his second win of the Tour by a few bike lengths over the Dutchman, with Norway’s Alexander Kristoff (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) taking third place.
Jasper Philipsen jubelt bei der Tour de France 2022 auf den Champs-Elysées
Image credit: Getty Images
“It’s a childhood dream coming true – this will take a while to realise,” Philipsen said. “I’m super proud of the team for finishing the Tour like this. It went ideal for me. I was in a great position. Dylan Groenewegen was forced to launch early and I could stay in his wheel and do the sprint I wanted – I’m super happy and proud to win on this beautiful Champs-Elysees by the Arc de Triomphe.”
After the threat from a five-man break was snuffed out just ahead of the last of eight laps in the centre of Paris, Britain’s Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) surged to the front of the peloton with compatriot and team-mate Luke Rowe – only for the Slovenian two-time winner Pogacar to put in an audacious bid to end his reign in style by having the last word.
Pogacar’s bold attack was brought to heel by the Italian Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) before the teams of the sprinters fought to the front to restore a little order ahead of the bunch gallop. It was not the first time Pogacar tried to liven up the final stage, the white jersey having enjoyed a cheeky little dig off the front following a tongue-in-cheek attack by Van Aert at kilometre zero.
'What's all this about?' - Pogacar launches joke attack on Stage 21
By sitting up and soaking in the atmosphere on the Champs-Elysees, Vingegaard saw his winning margin over Pogacar come down to 2’43”. Welshman Thomas confirmed his third place on the final podium at 7’22” while Frenchman David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) and Russia’s Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe) completed the top five.
Jumbo-Visma inflict Danish pasting on Pogacar
Two-time champion Pogacar rode a near-flawless opening week, making light of the cobbles of northern France before picking up back-to-back stages at Longwy and then, in yellow, on the first summit showdown at La Super Planche des Belles Filles.
But the wheels soon came off the Slovenian’s bid to become only the second rider – after the great Eddy Merckx – to win his first three Tours.
It was a remarkable team effort from Jumbo-Visma on the first of two consecutive summit finishes in the Alps that saw Vingegaard dislodge his rival at the top of the standings. Somewhat fittingly, it was Primoz Roglic, the man whom Pogacar denied the overall win in 2020, who was the architect of his countryman’s downfall.
‘It was funny’ – Pogacar on surprise attack before sprint on Champs-Elysees
A relentless series of attacks on the legendary Col du Galibier from Roglic and Vingegaard isolated Pogacar ahead of the final climb of the Col du Granon, where the Dane finally cracked the 23-year-old’s resolve on his way to a maiden Tour stage win, plus the yellow jersey he would keep all the way to Paris.
Although Pogacar never gave up, his every attack in the Massif Central and Pyrenees was matched by his shadow in yellow – even when he zipped up the ramped finish of the airstrip at Peyragudes to take his third win of the Tour.
The final nail in the UAE rider's coffin came on Stage 18 to Hautacam where Vingegaard sportingly waited for his rival after Pogacar – pushing on the descent of the Col des Spandelles – crashed on a tight corner. Once the pair resumed hostilities on the final climb, the white jersey’s elastic finally snapped courtesy of a huge pull from the indefatigable Van Aert.
Le triomphe des Jumbo Visma sur les Champrs-Elysées.
Image credit: Getty Images
Part of the day’s breakaway which had been caught on the gruelling ascent, Van Aert picked up the baton after earlier work from Sepp Kuss and Tiesj Benoot, before launching his team-mate to a second win – and a first in the famous yellow jersey.
Two days later, Jumbo-Visma’s indomitable duo put in an impressive display in the final time trial to Rocamadour, which Van Aert won by a 19-second advantage over Vingegaard to all but ensure the team’s first ever overall win in cycling’s biggest race.
“I think Wout has definitely been the strongest rider in this race. To have him by my side has been incredible these past three weeks," Vingegaard said ahead of the final stage into Paris.
“It’s a really special three weeks for us – and the way we destroyed everyone on the two hardest stages I will remember forever,” Van Aert added.
Asked to pick out a particular memory from the race, Van Aert said: “Our team spirit, how we enjoyed every day, every minute. It was a lot of stress, of course, but how we dealt with it was super special to experience.”
Vingegaard added: “Putting on the yellow jersey for the first time [on the Col du Granon] was a special moment, but what really stands out for me is the way we rode as a team. We’ve had three incredible weeks and the whole team has been so strong. I’m really proud of how the whole team rode.”
'The strongest rider in this race' - Vingegaard on team-mate Van Aert
With Frenchman Christophe Laporte adding a victory in Stage 19 at Cahors, Jumbo-Visma’s six stage wins matched Team Sky’s haul from 2012 the year Bradley Wiggins won the Tour. That victory one decade ago was followed by a period of domination for the British team which many will feel Jumbo-Visma are well equipped to match.
As Eurosport pundit Wiggins himself said: “Jumbo-Visma are now the best team in the world because they’re the most complete team right across the board – from Wout van Aert to Sepp Kuss to all the other guys, including those who didn’t make the Tour team, like Rohan Dennis.”
Wiggins had some words of praise for the second Dane, after Bjarne Riis in 1996, to win cycling’s most prestigious prize – and relished Vingegaard’s budding rivalry with the outgoing champion, Pogacar of UAE Team Emirates.
'The best Tour de France in my lifetime' - Wiggins
“What a Tour is has been for the new superstar of cycling – and what a couple of years we have in store as Vingegaard and Pogacar go head to head. I think UAE now have to really rebuild, as well as Tadej Pogacar in terms of thinking about his race programme because they’re going to have some serious battles in the year to come.”
The 110th edition of the Tour will start in the Basque city of Bilbao on Saturday 1 July 2023.
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The action is far from over! Stream the Tour de France Femmes live and on-demand from July 24-31 on discovery+. You can also watch all the action live on eurosport.co.uk.