Mountain king Vingegaard wins Tour de France

  • Tour de France winner Denmark's Jonas Vingegaard, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, second place Slovenia's Tadej Pogacar, left, and third place Britain's Geraint Thomas, celebrate on the podium after the twenty-first stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 116 kilometers (72 miles) with start in Paris la Defense Arena and finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France, Sunday, July 24, 2022. (Etienne Garnier/Pool Photo via AP)

    Tour de France winner Denmark's Jonas Vingegaard, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, second place Slovenia's Tadej Pogacar, left, and third place Britain's Geraint Thomas, celebrate on the podium after the twenty-first stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 116 kilometers (72 miles) with start in Paris la Defense Arena and finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France, Sunday, July 24, 2022. (Etienne Garnier/Pool Photo via AP)

  • Jonas Vingegaard of Denmark, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, heads the pack Sunday passing the Louvre Museum in Paris during the 21st and final leg of the Tour de France. A rookie last year, mountain specialist Vingegaard dethroned defending champion Tadej Pogacar.

    Jonas Vingegaard of Denmark, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, heads the pack Sunday passing the Louvre Museum in Paris during the 21st and final leg of the Tour de France. A rookie last year, mountain specialist Vingegaard dethroned defending champion Tadej Pogacar. Associated press

  • Tour de France winner Jonas Vingegaard flashes the thumbs-up Sunday in Paris.

    Tour de France winner Jonas Vingegaard flashes the thumbs-up Sunday in Paris. Associated PRess

  • Tour de France winner Denmark's Jonas Vingegaard, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, celebrates after the twenty-first stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 116 kilometers (72 miles) with start in Paris la Defense Arena and finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France, Sunday, July 24, 2022.

    Tour de France winner Denmark's Jonas Vingegaard, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, celebrates after the twenty-first stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 116 kilometers (72 miles) with start in Paris la Defense Arena and finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France, Sunday, July 24, 2022.

  • Denmark's Jonas Vingegaard, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, passes Arc de Triomphe during the twenty-first stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 116 kilometers (72 miles) with start in Paris la Defense Arena and finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France, Sunday, July 24, 2022.

    Denmark's Jonas Vingegaard, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, passes Arc de Triomphe during the twenty-first stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 116 kilometers (72 miles) with start in Paris la Defense Arena and finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France, Sunday, July 24, 2022.

  • Denmark's Jonas Vingegaard, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, and Netherlands' Bauke Mollema, right, ride during the twenty-first stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 116 kilometers (72 miles) with start in Paris la Defense Arena and finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France, Sunday, July 24, 2022.

    Denmark's Jonas Vingegaard, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, and Netherlands' Bauke Mollema, right, ride during the twenty-first stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 116 kilometers (72 miles) with start in Paris la Defense Arena and finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France, Sunday, July 24, 2022.

  • The pack with Denmark's Jonas Vingegaard, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, passes the Louvre Museum during the twenty-first stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 116 kilometers (72 miles) with start in Paris la Defense Arena and finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France, Sunday, July 24, 2022. (Pascal Rossignol/Pool via AP)

    The pack with Denmark's Jonas Vingegaard, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, passes the Louvre Museum during the twenty-first stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 116 kilometers (72 miles) with start in Paris la Defense Arena and finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France, Sunday, July 24, 2022. (Pascal Rossignol/Pool via AP)

  • Denmark's Jonas Vingegaard, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, and Belgium's Wout Van Aert, wearing the best sprinter's green jersey, ride in the pack during the twenty-first stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 116 kilometers (72 miles) with start in Paris la Defense Arena and finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France, Sunday, July 24, 2022.

    Denmark's Jonas Vingegaard, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, and Belgium's Wout Van Aert, wearing the best sprinter's green jersey, ride in the pack during the twenty-first stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 116 kilometers (72 miles) with start in Paris la Defense Arena and finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France, Sunday, July 24, 2022.

  • Tour de France winner Denmark's Jonas Vingegaard, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, celebrates after the twenty-first stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 116 kilometers (72 miles) with start in Paris la Defense Arena and finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France, Sunday, July 24, 2022.

    Tour de France winner Denmark's Jonas Vingegaard, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, celebrates after the twenty-first stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 116 kilometers (72 miles) with start in Paris la Defense Arena and finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France, Sunday, July 24, 2022.

  • Britain's Geraint Thomas crosses the finish line of the twenty-first stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 116 kilometers (72 miles) with start in Paris la Defense Arena and finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France, Sunday, July 24, 2022.

    Britain's Geraint Thomas crosses the finish line of the twenty-first stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 116 kilometers (72 miles) with start in Paris la Defense Arena and finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France, Sunday, July 24, 2022.

  • Stage winner Belgium's Jasper Philipsen, left, crosses the finish line ahead of second place Netherlands' Dylan Groenewegen, far right, and third place Norway's Alexander Kristoff, second right, during the twenty-first stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 116 kilometers (72 miles) with start in Paris la Defense Arena and finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France, Sunday, July 24, 2022.

    Stage winner Belgium's Jasper Philipsen, left, crosses the finish line ahead of second place Netherlands' Dylan Groenewegen, far right, and third place Norway's Alexander Kristoff, second right, during the twenty-first stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 116 kilometers (72 miles) with start in Paris la Defense Arena and finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France, Sunday, July 24, 2022.

  • Belgium's Wout Van Aert, wearing the best sprinter's green jersey, celebrates after the twenty-first stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 116 kilometers (72 miles) with start in Paris la Defense Arena and finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France, Sunday, July 24, 2022.

    Belgium's Wout Van Aert, wearing the best sprinter's green jersey, celebrates after the twenty-first stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 116 kilometers (72 miles) with start in Paris la Defense Arena and finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France, Sunday, July 24, 2022.

  • Tour de France winner Denmark's Jonas Vingegaard, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, and teammates Belgium's Wout Van Aert, wearing the best sprinter's green jersey, Sepp Kuss of the U.S., far left, Belgium's Tiesj Benoot, second left, ad France's Christophe Laporte, right, celebrate as they cross the finish line of the twenty-first stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 116 kilometers (72 miles) with start in Paris la Defense Arena and finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France, Sunday, July 24, 2022.

    Tour de France winner Denmark's Jonas Vingegaard, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, and teammates Belgium's Wout Van Aert, wearing the best sprinter's green jersey, Sepp Kuss of the U.S., far left, Belgium's Tiesj Benoot, second left, ad France's Christophe Laporte, right, celebrate as they cross the finish line of the twenty-first stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 116 kilometers (72 miles) with start in Paris la Defense Arena and finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France, Sunday, July 24, 2022.

  • Slovenia's Tadej Pogacar, wearing the best young rider's white jersey, rides during the twenty-first stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 116 kilometers (72 miles) with start in Paris la Defense Arena and finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France, Sunday, July 24, 2022.

    Slovenia's Tadej Pogacar, wearing the best young rider's white jersey, rides during the twenty-first stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 116 kilometers (72 miles) with start in Paris la Defense Arena and finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France, Sunday, July 24, 2022.

  • Denmark's Jonas Vingegaard, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey and who also has the best climber's dotted jersey, Belgium's Wout van Aert of Belgium, wearing the best sprtinters green jersey, and Slovenia's Tadej Pogacar, wearing the best young rider's white jersey, ride during the twenty-first stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 116 kilometers (72 miles) with start in Paris la Defense Arena and finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France, Sunday, July 24, 2022.

    Denmark's Jonas Vingegaard, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey and who also has the best climber's dotted jersey, Belgium's Wout van Aert of Belgium, wearing the best sprtinters green jersey, and Slovenia's Tadej Pogacar, wearing the best young rider's white jersey, ride during the twenty-first stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 116 kilometers (72 miles) with start in Paris la Defense Arena and finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France, Sunday, July 24, 2022.

  • Denmark's Jonas Vingegaard, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey and who also has the best climber's dotted jersey, Belgium's Wout van Aert of Belgium, wearing the best sprtinters green jersey, and Slovenia's Tadej Pogacar, wearing the best young rider's white jersey, ride during the twenty-first stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 116 kilometers (72 miles) with start in Paris la Defense Arena and finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France, Sunday, July 24, 2022.

    Denmark's Jonas Vingegaard, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey and who also has the best climber's dotted jersey, Belgium's Wout van Aert of Belgium, wearing the best sprtinters green jersey, and Slovenia's Tadej Pogacar, wearing the best young rider's white jersey, ride during the twenty-first stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 116 kilometers (72 miles) with start in Paris la Defense Arena and finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France, Sunday, July 24, 2022.

  • Stage winner Belgium's Jasper Philipsen celebrates on the podium after the twenty-first stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 116 kilometers (72 miles) with start in Paris la Defense Arena and finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France, Sunday, July 24, 2022.

    Stage winner Belgium's Jasper Philipsen celebrates on the podium after the twenty-first stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 116 kilometers (72 miles) with start in Paris la Defense Arena and finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France, Sunday, July 24, 2022.

  • Tour de France winner Denmark's Jonas Vingegaard, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, celebrates on the podium after the twenty-first stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 116 kilometers (72 miles) with start in Paris la Defense Arena and finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France, Sunday, July 24, 2022. (Etienne Garnier/Pool Photo via AP)

    Tour de France winner Denmark's Jonas Vingegaard, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, celebrates on the podium after the twenty-first stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 116 kilometers (72 miles) with start in Paris la Defense Arena and finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France, Sunday, July 24, 2022. (Etienne Garnier/Pool Photo via AP)

  • Stage winner Belgium's Jasper Philipsen celebrates on the podium after the twenty-first stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 116 kilometers (72 miles) with start in Paris la Defense Arena and finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France, Sunday, July 24, 2022.

    Stage winner Belgium's Jasper Philipsen celebrates on the podium after the twenty-first stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 116 kilometers (72 miles) with start in Paris la Defense Arena and finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France, Sunday, July 24, 2022.

  • Belgium's Jasper Philipsen celebrates after winning the twenty-first stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 116 kilometers (72 miles) with start in Paris la Defense Arena and finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France, Sunday, July 24, 2022. (Gonzalo Fuentes/Pool Photo via AP)

    Belgium's Jasper Philipsen celebrates after winning the twenty-first stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 116 kilometers (72 miles) with start in Paris la Defense Arena and finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France, Sunday, July 24, 2022. (Gonzalo Fuentes/Pool Photo via AP)

  • Slovenia's Tadej Pogacar, wearing the best young rider's white jersey, celebrates on the podium Sunday in France.

    Slovenia's Tadej Pogacar, wearing the best young rider's white jersey, celebrates on the podium Sunday in France. Associated Press

  • Tour de France winner Denmark's Jonas Vingegaard, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, celebrates on the podium after the twenty-first stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 116 kilometers (72 miles) with start in Paris la Defense Arena and finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France, Sunday, July 24, 2022. (Etienne Garnier/Pool Photo via AP)

    Tour de France winner Denmark's Jonas Vingegaard, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, celebrates on the podium after the twenty-first stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 116 kilometers (72 miles) with start in Paris la Defense Arena and finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France, Sunday, July 24, 2022. (Etienne Garnier/Pool Photo via AP)

 
By SAMUEL PETREQUIN
AP Sports Writer
Updated 7/24/2022 11:00 PM

King of the mountains. Champion on the Champs-Elysees.

Jonas Vingegaard blossomed from a talented rookie to a dominant leader in his own right over three weeks of epic racing to win his first Tour de France title on Sunday.

 

The former fish factory worker from Denmark dethroned defending champion Tadej Pogacar with memorable performances in the mountains in cycling's biggest race.

The 25-year-old Vingegaard, who was runner-up to Pogacar in his first Tour last year, excelled in the scorching heat that enveloped France this month and came out on top of a thrilling duel with Pogacar, the big favorite at the start of the race.

Jasper Philipsen won Sunday's last stage -- a mainly processional ride around Paris to the Champs-Elysees -- in a sprint ahead of Dylan Groenewegen and Alexander Kristoff.

Vingegaard competed last year as a replacement for Tom Dumoulin in the Jumbo-Visma squad. It was a revelation for Vingegaard as he realized that he could fight for the overall title after dropping Pogacar in the famed Mont Ventoux climb, but his Slovenian rival was at the top of his game and largely untouchable.

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A year later, Vingegaard stood on top of the podium after building his triumph with two phenomenal rides in the Alps and the Pyrenees.

The official overall margin of victory was 2 minutes, 43 seconds but Vingegaard slowed down toward the end of the stage to celebrate with teammates, crossing well after Pogacar. Geraint Thomas, the 2018 Tour champion, was 7:22 off the pace in third.

Three weeks ago in Copenhagen, the Jumbo-Visma team started the race with two leaders -- Vingegaard and three-time Spanish Vuelta winner Primoz Roglic. But Roglic's challenge took a blow when he suffered a dislocated shoulder and lost more than two minutes to Pogacar on the cobbled fifth stage of the race, leaving Vingegaard in a sole leader's role.

Vingegaard more than exceeded expectations from that moment.

He made his intentions clear in the first big mountain stage up the Col du Granon to seize the race leader's yellow jersey from Pogacar, who fell more than two minutes behind that day. Having claimed the famed tunic during a stage featuring three monster Alpine climbs, Vingegaard kept it till the end.

With the help of teammates including the versatile Wout Van Aert, Vingegaard responded to the relentless attacks launched by Pogacar day in, day out. His supremacy in the mountains was such that, in addition to his overall win, Vingegaard also claimed the jersey for king of the mountains -- not bad for a rider who comes from a country whose highest point is barely 170 meters above sea level.

Vingegaard and Pogacar were clearly in a class of their own this year as their closest rival, Thomas, was reduced to being a mere spectator in the leaders' fight.

"The battle between me and Jonas for the yellow jersey has been very special," Pogacar said. "I think we have some very interesting next two or three years ahead of us. Jonas has stepped up his game this year."

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