Jonas Vingegaard will make his 2023 debut and prepare for his highly-anticipated Paris-Nice showdown with Tadej Pogačar at the four-day O Gran Camiño stage race that begins in north-western Spain on Thursday.
The Danish rider travelled to O Gran Camiño after almost a month of altitude training in Tenerife, with Jumbo-Visma confident he is on form and so ready to challenge Pogačar at Paris-Nice in early March.
Vingegaard last raced at Il Lombardia last October and has only raced for seven days since winning the 2022 Tour de France, excluding the criteriums he rode during the winter.
He had to suddenly travel home to Denmark for personal reasons on Tuesday this week but Jumbo-Visma are convinced he will return to Spain in time for O Gran Camiño. They are expecting him to be competitive on his season debut.
“The winter went well for Jonas, even though he returned home just before this race due to personal circumstances. He is looking forward to starting his season here,” Directeur Sportif Frans Maassen said.
“Jonas needs to prepare for Paris-Nice, a big goal for him at the beginning of March. Over the next few days, he will be able to compete with the better climbers.”
Jumbo-Visma and Vingegaard noted how Pogačar dominated last week’s Vuelta a Andalucia and also want to show their early-season form.
Vingegaard defeated Pogačar last July at the Tour de France but the Slovenian and his UAE Team Emirates seem determined to take revenge in 2023. On Tuesday Pogačar also confirmed he will skip Strade Bianche and ride Paris-Nice, setting up a first stage race battle with Vingegaard.
“If I were Jonas, I would be more motivated,” Maassen told the Feltet website after Pogačar’s success.
“He also wants to show something, and he has spent a month at an altitude training camp in Tenerife. He has done a lot of intervals there and I think he is already in good shape to show something special.”
O Gran Camiño is a four-day stage race that began in 2022, bringing pro racing back to Galicia in north-west Spain to recapture the tradition of the Volta a Galicia, which ended in 2000.
The second edition of “The Grand Way” will cover 568 km across four days, with three hilly road stages and a final 18.1km time trial.
Only four WorldTour teams are on the start list, with Vingegaard’s biggest rivals perhaps David de la Cruz and Joe Dombrowsk (Astana-Qazaqstan), Saudi Tour winner Ruben Guerriero and his Movistar teammate Ivan Sosa….
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