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Thousands attend Tour de France teams presentation in Copenhagen

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Raw crowds at Copenhagen’s Tivoli theme park provided the Tour de France with the kind of reception organizers Wednesday could only dream of.

The loudest cheers went to Danish riders such as Jonas Vingegaard and to the biggest names led by champion Tadej Pogacar.

Park staff said only rock stars had attracted such crowds before.

Pogacar, who drives for UAE Team Emirates, also said he was excited. “As a team we are ready, and I and as an individual I am ready too, so I can’t wait to start the time trial on Friday,” said the Slovenian.

Denmark’s Crown Prince Frederick attended the teams’ official unveiling two days before the 21-day Tour kicks off with a 13km time trial, the first of three stages in Denmark.

Tivoli Park has about 25 amusement rides. On Wednesday, another 176 riders joined, who rode a special 1 km course and were greeted by thousands of laughing, cheering and filming fans.

“I feel great, especially today with all those people in Copenhagen, you can only be happy.” said Pogacar.

Best driver against strongest team

Title challengers Primoz Roglic and Vingegaard, both from Jumbo Visma, said they believed their team’s two-man strategy could finally deliver cycling’s most cherished prize.

Roglic, a Slovenian, was second in 2020 and Vingegaard in 2021, behind Pogacar both times.

“As long as we work together and do the best we can together, we believe we can beat him,” said Roglic.

Roglic retired in week one last year after a fall and on Wednesday denied feeling threatened by his junior partner Vingegaard, who shone in his absence.

“We make each other stronger. When you have strong individuals around you, the whole team becomes stronger,” said the 32-year-old three-time Vuelta a Espana winner.

Vingegaard said he and Roglic liked to have a beer together.

“Primoz and I are good friends outside of cycling,” said the 25-year-old, a former fish factory worker from the small community of Hillerslev on the Danish North Sea coast.

Both Roglic and Vingegaard talked about surviving the first week.

Team boss Merijn Zeeman rejected the idea. “I don’t like the term ‘survival’ because we are not afraid. We stay on the bike and stay in the front,” said Zeeman of Jumbo’s tendency to race at the front.

“Surviving sounds like we don’t sleep at night because we’re afraid of the first week.”

“In the best scenario, they are both better than Pogacar.”

“It’s no secret that Pogacar is the big favourite.

“We need everyone to be at their top level and we definitely need a two-leader strategy.

Ineos underdog

The once mighty Ineos team last won the race with Egan Bernal three years ago.

On Wednesday, 2018 champion Geraint Thomas said he was more of a chaperone to Colombia’s Dani Martinez and British rider Adam Yates as they chase Pogacar and Jumbo.

“It will be difficult to beat them, but the atmosphere in the team is as good as ever, we have some good guys, there is a good atmosphere and we are looking forward to getting in,” said Thomas, who promised an aggressive promise. race.

“Adam and Dani are the leaders of the team and I want to help them, so I’ll curse them at 60kph in the wind, and I’m going to enjoy that.”

Yates has just recovered from Covid-19 but looked relaxed and happy.

“It’s every man for himself,” Yates said.

“Me and Poggo have had good fights. I just hope to be at my best.”

Later on Wednesday, the Tour teams would parade in central Copenhagen as tensions piled up towards Friday’s Grand Depart, with Ineos rider Filippo Ganna being the favorite in a time trial in the center.

“It would be nice to wear the yellow jersey, nothing is easy, but I want to try to put that in my museum,” said the Italian.

“We’ll see on Friday if we can all celebrate together.”

(AFP)

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