Jonas Vingegaard has not come to the Dauphiné from Denmark or from the Costa del Sol where he has bought a house. He has done it from another planet, where Tadej Pogacar also lives, in a galaxy far away from the one inhabited by the rest of the mortals who earn their living by cycling. Fifth stage of the French race, solo victory, yellow jersey and little message sent to his Slovenian rival when there are only 23 days left before the Tour begins in Bilbao.
He already has nine victories this season to 12 for Pogacar. Cycling in 2023 is summed up in six names: Pogacar, Vingegaard, Roglic, Evenepoel, Van der Poel and Van Aert. The rest of the stars, no matter how much strength and courage they put into it, become onlookers, those who contemplate in one place or another, depending on the race, in stages or for one day, the displays of the sextet. They amaze and the others must settle for being the rivals; at least, this Thursday and in the Dauphiné, with enric mas and Michael Landa, among the best, and carlos rodriguez that yields a few seconds to its wake.
Vingegaard took advantage of a mid-mountain day in the Dauphiné to respond to Richard Carapaz’s attack, more will than legs, and thereby take time from the rest of the figures, stay alone in front and look for the goal to win alone with 31 seconds difference about Julian Alaphilippe, who initially eloped with the couple, and who later marked the time for the rest of the figures, including the Mallorcan runner, the Alava runner, Adam Yates, Jai Hindley and, above all, an Egan Bernal who little by little is recovering from the bones he broke a year ago when he hit a bus in Colombia. And also Juanpe López, the Sevillian cyclist who in 2022 wore the ‘pink jersey’.
The Dauphiné, says the cycling legend, must be reached at a point of correct form, but not optimal, because the ideal physical condition has to appear in the Tour. This is how the great figures have worked over the decades until this generation has arrived with voracious hunger, with Vingegaard among the chosen ones, who eats all his rivals as if there were no tomorrow, on the day cycling lost to one of its legends, Txomin Perurena.