Jonas Vingegaard claimed his second Tour de France title, emerging victorious from a clash of titans with Tadej Pogačar in which he gained the upper hand with a barnstorming performance in the third week and crossed the finish line on the Champs-Élysées with 7′29″ to spare. No-one managed to rattle the yellow jersey, who displayed the nerves of steel he appeared to lack in his maiden win.
He is a changed man. Or a changed champion, at the very least. Over these three weeks of racing, Jonas Vingegaard did not simply add a second yellow jersey to his tally, after the one he had secured in 2022. Perhaps even more importantly, the Dane blossomed from a rider who almost seemed hesitant to win last year into the undisputed boss of the Tour (the boss clad in yellow, that is, not the one who rocks a blue shirt). The signs were there in Bilbao for those who had been following the cycling season and willing to put some chips on the man who had kept a cool head despite finishing third in Paris–Nice, miles behind Tadej Pogačar and David Gaudu. He was vindicated in the next stage of his build-up, the Critérium du Dauphiné, which slashed the odds on Vingegaard being able to match —and perhaps even beat— the Slovenian favourite to win the Tour.
Race number 1 gives its wearer an aura of authority that makes him stand out from the start list. Jumbo–Visma put all its eggs in one basket, unlike in 2022, when Primož Roglič and Vingegaard shared leadership duties at the start of the Tour. This time round, Vingegaard embraced the role with gusto from the first pedal strokes. In yet another difference from 2022, when he often depended on Wout van Aert, the Dane tapped the collective strength of his team in a more traditional yet devastatingly effective approach. The duel between Vingegaard and Tadej Pogačar started as soon as the flag came down, with the UAE leader jumping on time bonuses in a "death by a thousand cuts" strategy, but Jumbo–Visma stayed calm and collected and it was the reigning champion who drew first blood on the Col de Marie-Blanque, crossing the finish line of stage 5 in Laruns with 1′04″ in the bag. Pogačar struck back on the road to Cauterets the very next day, but Vingegaard savoured his reconquest of the yellow jersey rather than brooding over the 24 seconds he had shipped in three kilometres.
He was waiting for the hour of truth or, better said, the half-hour of truth. Locked in a fierce battle over a few seconds here and a few seconds there, he kept his composure and enjoyed the yellow jersey, even after his lead was cut down to 9 seconds at the top of the Grand Colombier. "We had a plan and we executed it well every day", explained the Tour champion, who bet the farm on the Combloux time trial. The gamble paid off handsomely, as he put a whopping 1′35″ into "Pogi". One day after this exhibition, Vingegaard soared again as the Slovenian cracked badly on the Col de la Loze, sealing the fate of the yellow jersey. The cyclist derided as a bundle of nerves in 2022 was in a league of his own and seemed untouchable after expanding his lead to 7′35″. From then on, he took a no-nonsense approach and simply got the job done all the way to the top of Le Markstein. The Vingegaard method has been perfected.