Jonas Vingegaard, a double Tour de France winner and due to finish second overall in the Vuelta a España on Sunday, delivered a strong defence of Jumbo-Visma after the race, addressing questions regarding their performances.
Vingegaard spoke at a press conference alongside co-leaders Sepp Kuss, set to win the race outright on Sunday, and triple Vuelta champion Primož Roglič, who should finish third. Along with his teammates, the Dane was asked how, given the dramatic success of the team, he perceived suspicions on their domination and whether the team’s results would stand in 10 or 25 years time.
All three strongly defended the team, but Vingegaard, who won on the Tourmalet in the Vuelta and again in the northern Spanish summit finish of Bejes, delivered the fullest series of comments that echoed those he had made two months ago in the Tour.
“For sure we understand the scepticism but people should know how much we sacrifice for everything, how much we go into the details,” he said. “Specially in this team we just do everything perfect, basically, and it makes such a big difference. I don’t think people realise how much difference that actually makes.
“It’s always good to be sceptical, specially when a team is doing well, as long as it’s not allegations. I think as long as we speak about it because of what happened 20 years ago then I think, hopefully, we can prevent it happening again.
“I’m 100% sure my two colleagues here are not taking anything – as well as myself.”
Vingegaard was less forthcoming about the discussions that had taken place in the middle of the third week of the race, that saw him and Roglič abruptly switch from racing in their own interests on the GC to working for Kuss’ lead.
“It’s not everything that the press should know, in my opinion,” he insisted – “not that there were any problems. That’s something we discussed internally on the team.”
Vingegaard was asked directly whether that decision to race for Kuss and not for himself was not going to hurt him financially, and he made it clear that his motivation for racing was not economic, and that therefore that was not an issue.
“If you do sports, you shouldn’t do it for the money, you should do it because you like it,” he reflected.
“You might get a bonus [for a win], you might not, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is that my good friend [Sepp Kuss] is winning the Vuelta a España and I’m happy for him.”
The result of that success is…