The riders enjoyed the start of the Tour de France in Denmark last week. The many fans along the side of the road made it a unique experience for the peloton.
It started on Wednesday with the tears by Jonas Vingegaard at the team presentation in Copenhagen. When more than ten thousand compatriots chanted his name in Tivoli amusement park, the Dane from Jumbo-Visma was overcome with emotions.
“I had already hoped for a lot of people and a nice reception, but this was really more than amazing,” 25-year-old Vingegaard said after the presentation to the Danish TV 2 SPORT† “I was amazed and moved that so many people know me and support me. The fans could hardly stop cheering.”
The number two of last year’s Tour, together with former Tour of Flanders winner Kasper Asgreen and former world champion Mads Pedersen, is the exponent of a new, successful generation of Danish cyclists. Their successes have ensured that an ever-popular sport has received even more attention in Denmark.
“Cycling has a special place in Danish culture,” says 27-year-old Asgreen. “I don’t know a child who doesn’t have a bicycle, we Danes often cycle before we walk. In Copenhagen there are more bicycles than cars and bicycle paths now take up almost more space than roads. We grow up with cycling.”
On Friday, an estimated half a million people were in Copenhagen for the opening time trial, despite the rain. In the stages of Saturday and Sunday it was packed with fans in most places along the course. “We knew the Tour would be big in Denmark,” said Pedersen. “But we didn’t know it would get that big. It was a really bizarre feeling to see all those people.”
The riders saw a lot of fans in most places in Denmark.
Riders couldn’t think properly because of sound
Owain Doull was still in awe of what he had experienced on Saturday hours after the second stage. “Insane,” wrote the 29-year-old EF Education-EasyPost rider Twitter† “My ears are still ringing.”
The Tour debutant was blown away by the endless rows of fans and the noise they made in the first 15 kilometers of the ride from Roskilde to Nyborg. “I could not think properly,” says the Welshman in conversation with NU.nl. “I’ve really never experienced anything like it. It was intense, but also amazing at the same time.”
In 2007, as a fourteen-year-old fan, Doull was watching the Tour start in London, where public interest was also great. “This is how cycling should be, touchable to the fans. I’m sure there are children in Denmark now also watching the Tour who will be in the peloton in ten years.”
Dutch Tour debutant Taco van der Hoorn also rode the three Danish stages with a big smile. “At least until the final, because then it’s just stressful,” he says with a laugh. “But in the first part of the stages I did have time to look around me and it was just very special.”
It was especially busy on the climbs.
Tour extends condolences to victims of shooting
The Danish Tour start on Sunday ended in a minor key. While the caravan was about 300 kilometers west of Copenhagen, a shooting took place in the Danish capital that left three people dead.
“The Tour is shocked by what happened in Copenhagen,” the ASO wrote in a statement on Sunday declaration† “The people of Copenhagen have given the peloton one of the most special receptions in cycling history. The entire Tour caravan extends its deepest condolences to the victims and their families.”
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