Jonas Vingegaard crowned Tour de France winner after Champs-Elysees finale

Runner up Tadej Pogacar confident the UAE Team Emirates will return stronger next year

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Tadej Pogacar said he could take many positives from his three stage victories and finishing second behind Danish rider Jonas Vingegaard in the 2022 Tour de France.

The UAE Team Emirates star and winner of the Tour in 2020 and 2021 was outshone by Vingegaard, who was outstanding throughout the 21 stages of the gruelling race.

“I can be really happy with this Tour de France,” Pogacar said before the start of the final stage won by Belgian Jasper Philipsen at Champs-Elysees in Paris on Sunday.

“For sure we wanted to win, but also the second place and three stage wins is something to be proud of. I am looking for new challenges.

“Stage wins are always incredible in the Tour. It's something I cannot describe. For me, that's why it's so beautiful.”

Pogacar was also unlucky as he lost four teammates during the Tour. Vehard Stake Laengen and George Bennett dropped out after testing Covid-19 positive, while Marc Soler was forced to pull out after falling ill and then Rafal Majka due to an injury.

However, nothing should be taken away from Vingegaard and his team Jumbo-Visma’s incredible success.

They scored six stage victories and Vingegaard took both the yellow and green jerseys as the overall winner and the king of the mountains. Van Aert was also awarded the red dossard as the race’s most combative rider.

Pogacar, 23, took the white jersey for the young rider category to add to his three stage victories.

After completing the penultimate time trial stage on Saturday in which Pogacar finished third, the Slovenian acknowledged his UAE Team Emirates squad had made a lot of mistakes during the race.

“For sure we can take a lot of things from this Tour – a lot of mistakes that we made, and a lot of good things,” he explained.

“I think we have a good opportunity for next year because I know that we can improve and I'm looking forward to new challenges. We can try to get better at a lot of things. I think we can do it.”

Pogacar admitted that he had been "too motivated" to follow the moves made by Vingegaard and Primoz Roglic on the Galibier, and that he paid for his efforts later in the day.

“The mistake I have made was the stage to the Col du Granon,” he said. “I was too motivated to follow everyone, and I think in the end I paid really hard. That's one mistake I made but for sure, there's a bit more.

“We had a lot of bad luck with Covid-19 before and in the middle of the Tour. We ended the race with four riders – only half the team. A lot of factors we can talk about all day, but it's something we have to analyse after the Tour.”

Pogacar paid tribute to Vingegaard and the Jumbo-Visma team on their success in the Tour.

“This Tour there were almost no weaknesses in their team,” he added. “They lost two riders, but in the end it didn't seem like they had any less, maybe because we had four. They rode really perfectly in this Tour and because they rode perfectly, they got to win.”

Vingegaard thanked his team after safely crossing the finish line with his teammates in Paris.

“It's just incredible,” the 109th winner of the Tour de France said. “I have finally won the Tour. Nothing can go wrong any more. I sat with my daughter with me. It is just incredible.

“It is the biggest cycling race of the year, the biggest one you can win and now I have done it. Nobody can take this away from me."

Philipsen said it was his “childhood dream” to win the final stage of the Tour.

“It will take a while to realise,” he said. “I'm super and happy and proud that I could win on the beautiful Champs-Elysees. It is the dream of any sprinter.”

Updated: July 24, 2022, 8:52 PM