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Jumbo-Visma and UAE Team Emirates undergo extra blood tests on team bus before Tour de France queen stage

Both teams spoke out saying they welcomed the extra visit from anti-doping inspectors

Ahead of today's queen stage of the Tour de France, Jumbo-Visma and UAE Team Emirates received an extra visit from doping inspectors who blood tested riders in their respective team buses.

The news, broken by Dutch cycling website Wielerflits, comes the day after Jonas Vingegaard's stage 16 time trial-winning performance stunned the cycling world, both the Dane and second-placed Tadej Pogačar distancing the entire field by impressive margins.

2023 Tour de France Jonas Vingegaard (ASO/Pauline Ballet)

[ASO/Pauline Ballet]

Both UAE Team Emirates and Jumbo-Visma have welcomed the extra tests, Vingegaard's team manager Richard Plugge pointing out that his rider has undergone four blood tests in the past 48 hours. Likewise, a UAE Team Emirates spokesperson said the extra checks can be "only good for cycling" and stressed "we have no problem with this".

"I applaud this," Jumbo-Visma's Plugge added. "In fact, I also worked hard for this. In this way we are taking another step in the fight against doping. Jonas Vingegaard has had no less than four blood tests in the last 48 hours. We are happy to participate in this."

It is reported the visit of doping control came around an hour before the start of today's 165km stage from Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc to Courchevel via the wickedly steep Col de la Loze and saw the riders of both teams undergo an extra blood test.

"These are not unfounded questions about those suspicions"

Speaking to France Info on Wednesday, Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme said "there are many checks" at the race but "these are not unfounded questions about those suspicions".

2023 Tour de France Jumbo-Visma (ASO/Pauline Ballet)

[ASO/Pauline Ballet]

"Vingegaard and Pogačar also said that during the rest day on Monday," he said, referencing the rest day press conferences of both the top two riders on GC.

When questioned about public suspicion and the rapid climbing times seen during this year's race, Vingegaard accepted he could "fully understand the questions we're getting".

"All I can say is I'm not taking anything but yes to be honest there is scepticism about us going fast and yes I think it's a good thing," he said. "And also something else, there is the food, the material, the training (that have improved) but again it's always good to be sceptical or think about it at least.

Addressing the same questions, Pogačar echoed his great rival, saying his answer is no different to "every year at the Tour" and that he "understands people asking questions because of what happened in the past".

2023 Tour de France Tadej Pogacar (ASO/Pauline Ballet)

[ASO/Pauline Ballet]

"We ride fast, every stage, we go full," he said. "I understand people asking questions because of what happened in the past, people are worried and I completely understand."

However, race director Prudhomme was also keen to add that there are many tests throughout the three weeks. "These doping tests are carried out by the independent ITA, which carries out controls in about 50 different sports. For example, the yellow jersey wearer is tested every day and the bicycles are also tested.

"And for about ten years now it has been forbidden in cycling to give yourself an injection. If you do that, you're off the race. In other sports we saw that winners could still win after treatment, but that doesn't happen in cycling. We are leading the way in that regard.

"Since then [the era of Lance Armstrong and Marco Pantani] a lot of progress has been made, especially in the field of equipment. So much progress has been made that we also look at safety, because sometimes things go really fast in the descents.

"And the cyclists are monks today. They allow themselves little freedom, not even in December. That partly explains their performance."

Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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8 comments

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Jimmy Ray Will | 9 months ago
2 likes

Is Vingegaard doping... more than likely. Is he doping more than anyone else... time will tell, but probably not. 

It could be that the Jumbo boys have some special sauce; they could have been bold enough to 'do a bag' on the rest day, but the more likely scenario is that the result is the culmination of two weeks preparation... grinding Pog down whilst saving it for one big effort.

Vingegaard had spoken about saving it all for one day, and I'm guessing the TT was always that day. And based on the '20 tour result I can see why. Pog had shown previous form for doing incredible things in a late hilly TT, so Jumbo had to defend against that. At the same time Pog demonstrated the scale of opportunity presented by such a TT, further justifying big investment in that one day. 

But, Pog has been getting it wrong, all tour. The idea that the tour would come down to fighting for seconds was naive. The idea that Vingegaard not attacking was because he was at his limit was naive. The idea that Pog's raw talent would be superior to Vingegaard's perfect prep was naive. 

Vingegaard sucked Pog into fighting for scraps, emptying his tanks day after day.  All the While Jonas was sitting there, saving energy, waiting. It's impressive. 

And I think this is why the gap was so big. Only one guy had spent the previous two weeks managing their effort and holding back. Over enough time, a single percentage point is more than enough to make a huge difference given the right scenario.

This is what I think we witnessed, the culmination of holding something back every day. Jonas went into the rest day with matches to spare, Pog went into the rest day desperate for the rest day. 

Avatar
wtjs | 9 months ago
0 likes

It's pretty much impossible for two riders in the spotlight as much as they are to be involved in doping. It's not like the bad old days of secret visits to Ferrari, and blacked out bus windows with massed riders connected to blood bags- they can't do anything secretly. These days, somebody would 'out' them. Besides, in the early days of this Tour, it was hammer-blows backwards and forwards with everything still open until the last couple of days. These boys are clean!

Avatar
Jimmy Ray Will replied to wtjs | 9 months ago
1 like

wtjs wrote:

It's pretty much impossible for two riders in the spotlight as much as they are to be involved in doping. It's not like the bad old days of secret visits to Ferrari, and blacked out bus windows with massed riders connected to blood bags- they can't do anything secretly. These days, somebody would 'out' them. Besides, in the early days of this Tour, it was hammer-blows backwards and forwards with everything still open until the last couple of days. These boys are clean!

This is satire isn't it? 

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Awavey replied to wtjs | 9 months ago
0 likes

Sadly I don't believe in miracles

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HarrogateSpa | 9 months ago
1 like

My impression of Jumbo Visma is that they are a professional team and would not get involved in illegal practices.

Tom Dumoulin who rode for the team for 3 years said yesterday that he never saw anything untoward. Of course, he could be part of a conspiracy and cover-up, but I doubt it.

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Paul J replied to HarrogateSpa | 9 months ago
0 likes
HarrogateSpa wrote:

My impression of Jumbo Visma is that they are a professional team and would not get involved in illegal practices.

You do realise this team used to be called "Rabobank" and most of its DS staff had their riding careers during the time when Rabobank had team sanctioned doping programmes, with doctor Geert Leinders? Some of them are admitted or sanctioned dopers - starting with the lead DS Grischa Niermann.

The only DS on TJV who's from the 90s/00s era that I'd put money on having been clean, and would hope to have a /chance/ of not losing my money would be Frank Maassen. He was at least a lot cleaner than others of that time, according to other riders like Boogerd.

Avatar
Trevor Anderson | 9 months ago
2 likes

I am hoping Cillian Kelly of GCN will do some analysis of past TT results and explain the stage 16 results.
When I look back at stage 20 in last year's tour, a 41km TT, the margins were measured in seconds.
When you look at yesterday's stage 16 results, viewing from 3rd (WVA) to the next 100, the margins are 5-10 seconds to each placing, about 0.4% difference between placing. But Jonas was 10% faster than WVA. I find it very puzzling 🤔

Avatar
Awavey | 9 months ago
4 likes

Not really helping to claim performances described in various media outlets such as L'Equipe as D'une Autre Planete, is partly explained because the cyclists are monks 

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