Double Tour de France star Jonas Vingegaard has revealed that his first week of the Vuelta a España was far more difficult than it appeared after the Tour de France champion was hit by severe stomach issues during the early stages of the race.
“After what I’ve been through, I’m glad I’m still in the game,” the Jumbo-Visma racer, currently lying third overall in the Vuelta told Denmark’s TV2 channel on Monday’s second rest day.
Vingegaard revealed that he even had to ‘do a Dumoulin’ on the side of the road on stage 4 of the Vuelta, the phrase euphemistically referring to an urgent open-air toilet break – as former rider Tom Dumoulin famously took after suffering drastic stomach problems en route to winning the 2017 Giro d’Italia.
However, with the issues resolved, Vingegaard is now in a strong position in the GC, running third overall behind teammates Sepp Kuss and Primož Roglič and with a solo stage win on the Col du Tourmalet last weekend to his name as well.
Stage 4, a flattish trek through Catalunya culminating in a bunch sprint won by Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck) at Tarragona, was a very different experience for Vingegaard, the Dane recounted to TV2, as his indigestion problems left him in trouble.
“I suffered more from stomach bacteria than I let on at the time,” Vingegaard said. “It doesn’t bother me anymore, but it did in the first week. I had no strength anymore.
“I ‘did a Dumoulin’. It wasn’t the proudest moment of my career. It only happened once. And luckily it was a quiet stage the next day. If that hadn’t happened, I could have dropped down the overall rankings.”
Although Vingegaard’s ’emergency stop’ occurred during live broadcasting of the stage, it did not get spotted by TV cameras, he added, pointing out that in the Tour de France, it would likely have been a different story.
The Dane heads into Tuesday’s stage 16 summit finish at Bejes lying 1:44 down on teammate Kuss, with Roglič seven seconds up in second place.
Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates), lying fourth at 2:37, is the best-placed non-Jumbo-Visma rider on the GC and the biggest threat to the Dutch squad’s dominance in the upcoming stages, including stage 17’s brutal ascent of the Altu de L’Angliru.