Sport Bilder des Tages 03-07-2022 Tour De France Tappa 03 Vejle - Sonderborg 2022, Uae Emirates PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxITAxFRAxNED

Cycling becomes a magnet for the masses. At the start of the tour in Denmark, Tour de France drivers and supervisors felt like they were in pre-pandemic times. “I’ve competed in ten Tours of France, I’ve experienced ten Grand Departs, but I’ve never experienced such an atmosphere as here in Copenhagen,” said Chris Froome in amazement.

The Briton, a four-time race winner but again far from a top 10 this year, was delighted to see fans lining the track in rows of five, waving flags, making a hell of a racket and not even feeling the rain held off. “The start was spectacular. Without the rain it would have been a record prologue,” said Rolf Aldag, sports director of the German racing team Bora-hansgrohe, the Tagesspiegel.

Beyond the capital, the cycling festival continued. In Roskilde, tens of thousands left the camp site of the big rock festival to cheer on the pros on the narrow wheels at the start of the second stage. There were also crowds of spectators on the way through town. Houses were flagged yellow, the pattern of the polka dot jersey attached to silos and water storage tanks.

And because the local driver Magnus Cort Nielsen had conquered the jersey of the mountain king on the second stage and presented it on the third day in a solo ride in front of the field – on the hunt for further mountain points – everything was fine for the hosts in terms of sport.

Cort Nielsen was celebrated as if he had already won the Tour de France. “Denmark has few real stars. That’s why professional cyclists are treated like pop stars here,” said Michael Rasmussen, explaining the enthusiasm. Rasmussen was once such a pop star himself before he was banned from the Tour de France for doping. Now he accompanies her as a columnist for the daily newspaper Ekstrabladet.

In terms of sport, Tadej Pogacar once again emerged as the top favourite. He has already won the Tour de France twice. In the time trial, he was again the best of the classification drivers. While his competitors were primarily concerned with safety in the rain, the Slovenian did not shy away from taking risks, instead chasing around tight corners with perfect bike control.

He is already third, 14 seconds behind overall leader Wout van Aert. However, he is eight and nine seconds ahead of his closest challengers Jonas Vingegaard and Primoz Roglic and is even more clearly ahead of the rest of the podium contenders.

Instead of the usual yellow jersey, he now wears the white jersey of the best young driver. “It suits me too, doesn’t it?” he joked with journalists. But by Friday at the latest, when it goes up the Planche des Belles Filles, he wants to exchange it for his standard color, yellow. His actual team jersey is likely to remain in the suitcase, hardly used, for a long time.

The sprints were marked by the duel between Fabio Jakobsen and Dylan Groenewegen. Everyone won a stage. Both fates are tragically linked: Groenewegen was the trigger of the horrific fall that sent Jakobsen to the intensive care unit two years ago. Groenewegen mentally nibbled at it for a long time.

Jakobsen put in an impressive physical rehabilitation. Narrowly escaping death, he was now the stage winner. “A circle has closed for me. I always wanted to win a stage in the Tour de France. Then the fall intervened. Now I’ve fulfilled a dream,” said the Dutchman.

So the Grand Depart brought many happy moments. It cost Danish taxpayers 12 million euros. It is paradoxical that the organizers justified the start in Denmark precisely because of the exemplary, environmentally friendly everyday use of the bike by the Danish population. “Denmark is a lot further here than we are in France,” said Tour de France boss Christian Prudhomme.

On Monday, the huge convoy of the tour with buses, material trucks and cars of the 22 teams, the 150 vehicles of the advertising caravan and several thousand vehicles of tour employees and media moved through half of Europe from Denmark to northern France. That falls into the irresponsible category.

The shots fired in Copenhagen on Sunday afternoon set a bitter tone. The tour organizer ASO sent his condolences.