Danish cyclist Jonas Vingegaard has been having a “tough time” since winning the Tour de France in July, the sporting director of his club Jumbo Visma said Thursday.
The 25-year-old rider — who was absent from the start of the Tour of Denmark on Tuesday and will not participate in September’s world road race championships in Australia — has kept a low profile since his triumphant return to Copenhagen.
Tens of thousands of peole lined the streets to welcome back Denmark’s first Tour de France champion since Bjarne Riis — who later admitted to doping — in 1996.
“I understand that fans want to see Jonas, and I spoke to him about it yesterday. But he has had a very tough time after the Tour”, Frans Maassen told daily Ekstra Bladet.
“We would have liked to show him off during this race (the Tour of Denmark), but we also have to understand that it was difficult to win the Tour de France, what with everything that comes with it.”
Vingegaard’s presence would also have heaped even more pressure on him, he said.
The rider has not commented on his absence from his home race.
“It’s one thing to be physically ready, but you also have to be mentally ready,” Tour of Denmark official Frank Hyldgaard told Danish news agency Ritzau.
After having “invested a lot” in the Tour de France, “there’s no doubt that he’s exhausted now,” Quickstep cyclist Michael Morkov told Ekstra Bladet.
Long seen as a stigma, the mental health struggles of top athletes have in recent years come into focus as an increasing number of stars open up publicly about their problems.