Jonas Vingegaard, Sepp Kuss and their Jumbo-Visma team hope to continue to move the Danish climber up the overall classification of Tirreno-Adriatico in a friendly challenge with their teammates dominating Paris-Nice.
Primož Roglič leads the Paris-Nice race after Jumbo-Visma finished 1-2-3 on two different stages. They have also dominated the racing with impressive performances from Wout van Aert, Roglic himself, and new signings Christophe Laporte, who won stage 1, along Rohan Dennis, who completed the clean-sweep in the time trial.
Vingegaard is only fourth overall at Tirreno-Adriatico, 45 seconds down on dominant race leader Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) but could challenge Remco Evenepoel, who is second overall at nine seconds, and talented young Dutch rider Thymen Arensman (Team DSM) is third overall at 42 seconds.
Kuss is riding in support of Vingegaard, especially after some mechanical problems left him climbing the steep ‘Muri’ climbs in the big ring. However, the friendly rivalry with their teammates in France is a source of inspiration.
“I think they’ve got the one-up on us but we can only try our best to equal them,” Kuss said with a laugh, aware of the team’s dominance in France.
“We want to go for the best. But the Carpegna is a hard climb. It’s going to be a super hard stage. We also go up the steep climb twice, there’s also descending. There’s a lot of possibilities.”
Vingegaard may have been unsure of the colour of the Tirreno-Adriatico leader’s jersey after Thursday's stage but his goals for Saturday’s 215km stage over Monte Carpegna are crystal clear. He finished third overall at the 2021 Tour de France and is on form early in 2022 and showed it by winning the recent Drôme Classic one-day race in France.
“It’s going to be a really hard day,” he predicted of the 215km Carpegna stage with a few choice words.
“Tirreno is a goal for me and so I'm happy with how it is going. I’m not satisfied with my time trial but that’s how it is. I’m happy with my shape.”
Vingegaard was not happy to go the wrong way behind Evenepoel on the descent but he shrugged off the lost opportunity.
“I’m happy to be up there again today. It was a tough day. It was also a good attack by Remco but I had the legs to follow, so why not go with it,” he said as he sipped a recovery drink beyond the finish and prepared to descend to the Jumbo-Visma team bus.
“Unfortunately we went the wrong way, none of us saw the corner coming. It was kind of down hill and then all of a sudden we had to go right.”
With Tirreno-Adriatico ending on Sunday with a flat stage and probable sprint finish, Vingegaard’s opportunity to respond to his Jumbo-Visma teammates in France lies totally on the steep slopes of Monte Carpegna.
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Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.